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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 06:03 GMT
Murdoch cancels OJ Simpson plans
Former American football player and actor OJ Simpson (file photo 2001)
OJ Simpson was found not guilty of murder after a sensational trial

Rupert Murdoch's media companies have cancelled plans for a controversial book by OJ Simpson and a televised interview with him.

The book and programme If I Did It, in which Mr Simpson describes how he would have killed his ex-wife and her friend, had caused public outrage.

Mr Murdoch said he was "sorry for any pain this has caused".

Mr Simpson was acquitted of murdering ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman on 12 June 1994.

Judith Regan, publisher of ReganBooks, owned by Mr Murdoch's News Corp, had said she considered the book Mr Simpson's confession.

Several affiliates of Mr Murdoch's Fox TV had refused to screen the interview on the grounds of bad taste.

Mr Murdoch said: "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project.

I would like nothing better than to straighten out some things that have been mischaracterised
OJ Simpson

"We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."

The TV programme was intended to promote the ex-American footballer's book, which was planned for publication on 30 November.

The deal with Mr Murdoch's broadcasting and publishing companies was worth $3.5m (1.85m).

During the interview, Mr Simpson describes how he would have carried out the murders at his ex-wife's home in Los Angeles "if he were the one responsible".

Fox TV had scheduled the Simpson interview to air on 27 and 29 November. There are about 200 Fox affiliates across the US.

'Legally muzzled'

The family of Ronald Goldman acknowledged News Corp had accepted "responsibility for its deplorable decisions" but said the cancellation did "not undo the damage to the families of the victims".

The family said it wanted hold "those persons accountable who may have acted in concert with Simpson to defraud the Goldmans".

Johnnie Cochran at OJ Simpson's trial
Mr Simpson's lawyer portrayed the case as a conspiracy

Mr Simpson told the Associated Press he could not comment.

"I would like nothing better than to straighten out some things that have been mischaracterised. But I think I'm legally muzzled at this point," he said.

Mr Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galanter, said his client was "totally indifferent" about the cancellations.

The 1995 verdict had divided US opinion along racial lines, with most white people feeling that justice had not been done.

Mr Simpson was later found liable for the deaths in a civil trial and ordered to pay $33.5m in damages - money that has never been collected.

The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says the civil trial result and America's constitutional freedom of speech rights have enabled people to openly say they believe Mr Simpson is a murderer.

Mr Simpson would have faced no further penalty as a result of the book or interview.




SEE ALSO
Row deepens over OJ Simpson book
20 Nov 06 |  Americas
Lead OJ Simpson trial lawyer dies
30 Mar 05 |  Americas
OJ trial sparked abuse campaign
14 Jun 03 |  Americas
No reality show for OJ Simpson
25 Apr 03 |  Entertainment
OJ's DNA given to museum
29 May 02 |  Americas
Simpson loses film battle
07 Sep 00 |  Entertainment



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