Sunday, January 14, 2007
O.J. Account -- would it be legally defamatory?
Linda Deutsch has an AP story today where O.J. Simpson claims that his fictitious account of Nicole's death in 1994 is not a "confession."
The Newsweek story by Mark Miller, "Evidence of Guilt: But what did he say: an exclusive look at the critical chapter: at this link. There is a discussion baord there, too.
Had someone else written and published the account without permission and it was untrue, it would be libel. Does that mean that when Simpson authorizes it himself it is "self-defamation"? Of course, there is no double jeopardy and even the civil trial (wrongful death) is long since settled, but the principle seems important. Many le have gotten into trouble with "self-defamation" on social networking sites and blogs when they think they are making a political point (to protest underage drining laws, or the various ages of majority, ranging from age of consent to the age at which one can rent a car). Employers and sometimes even law enforcement worries about this. The military gay ban is based on a similar premise, that voluntary statements are evidentiary of a propensity for future behavior.
Although Judith Regan was fired for her attempt to publish the book, it still could show up later under a smaller publisher.
DC area talk show host Victoria Jones used to love to speculate about O.J. in the middle 1990s.