DirecTV wins judgment against O.J. Simpson over pirating

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"Associated Press
Posted April 30 2004, 1:06 PM EDT

MIAMI -- DirecTV moved closer to winning its lawsuit against former football star O.J. Simpson for allegedly pirating its satellite television signal when he failed to respond to the company's complaint.

A clerk issued a default judgment Thursday at the request of attorneys for DirecTV Inc., which brought the suit on March 4. Simpson was served April 5 and did not respond by the Monday deadline.

U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lenard must still issue a formal ruling and decide whether to award damages. No hearing date has been set.

Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, and DirectTV's attorney, James A. Boatman Jr., did not immediately return phone messages Friday.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based company wants Simpson to pay at least $20,000 for the alleged use of the illegal equipment and attorneys' fees.

Federal agents removed satellite television equipment from Simpson's house in the Miami neighborhood of Kendall during a search Dec. 4, 2001. DirecTV said agents removed two pirate access devices known as ``bootloaders.''

The devices were being used for the unauthorized decryption of DirecTV signals, the lawsuit said. The company claims Simpson bought, made or distributed the devices and other equipment to steal the broadcasts.

The raid occurred as the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Miami-Dade County police were investigating Simpson and others in an alleged Ecstasy and satellite signal theft ring. Simpson was never charged.

Simpson moved to Florida after he was acquitted of murder charges in the 1994 stabbing deaths of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. A civil jury in 1997 held Simpson liable for the killings and ordered him to pay the victims' survivors $33.5 million.

He has not worked since then because any money he makes could be seized to satisfy that judgment, which remains largely unpaid.

Copyright © 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel "
 
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