Simpson children remain in uncertain custody Browns decline to say whether they'll fight


LOS ANGELES -- With the news media's "Camp O. J." ordered to move away from O. J. Simpson's Brentwood estate, attention turned yesterday to the two young children who once lived there with him.

Uncertainty over custody of the children continued, with their maternal grandparents appearing to waver in their willingness to turn them over to Mr. Simpson. The children were back with the Brown family in Dana Point, an hour's drive south of Mr. Simpson's home.

Juditha Brown, mother of the slain Nicole Brown Simpson, said it was difficult to let go of her grandchildren when they were reunited with their father on Wednesday for the first time in more than a year. But she said she was coming to terms with their need to be with their father.

"Blood is thicker than anything," Ms. Brown said in an interview published yesterday in the Los Angeles Times. "He is their father."

But the Browns declined to say whether they would fight Mr. Simpson's right to raise Justin, 7, and Sydney, 9.

For now, Ms. Brown said, she expects that Mr. Simpson will allow them to stay in school in Dana Point, where security personnel are guarding the Brown household and the Nicole Brown Simpson Foundation, a group dedicated to the cause of domestic violence. Denise Brown reportedly has received death threats, including one that said, "We're going to get you the way we got your sister."

Meanwhile, the William Morris Agency confirmed that it had signed prosecutor Marcia Clark as its newest client.

An agency publicist said Ms. Clark would have representation in four areas: literary, lectures, television and movies.

"The world is her oyster," said a Morris employee who asked not to be identified by name. "Maybe she writes a book. Maybe she becomes a television commentator."

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said Ms. Clark was away from the office and unavailable for comment. Ms. Gibbons said that Ms. Clark has not left her job as a prosecutor.

"She has an agent now," Ms. Gibbons said. "I suggest you speak to him."

On the defense side of the case, in which Mr. Simpson was acquitted Tuesday on double-murder charges, lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. was rebuffed in his request to have the civil lawsuits against his client dropped.

Fred Goldman, the father of victim Ronald L. Goldman, vowed to pursue his family's wrongful-death suit against Mr. Simpson. Mr. Simpson could be forced to testify in the civil suit and to pay millions of dollars in damages if he is found responsible for Mr. Goldman's death. The estate of Nicole Brown Simpson has filed a similar lawsuit.

"There's one question about whether he'd be a fit parent, first of all by the mountain of evidence that still exists even after being cleared in the criminal case," attorney John Kelly, who is representing the Browns, told Fox TV affiliate KTTV. "There's a lot of evidence that suggest clearly that he killed the children's mother."

In other developments:

* CBS commentator Andy Rooney said he was so sure that Mr. Simpson killed his former wife that he will pay a reward of $1 million for the identification and conviction of a killer.

Mr. Rooney, in a commentary taped Thursday for Sunday's "60 Minutes," called Mr. Simpson's acquittal "the worst thing that's happened to race relations in 40 years," the program's spokesman, Kevin Tedesco, said yesterday.

* Dr. Henry Lee, the chief forensic expert for the Simpson defense, said a newspaper wrongly quoted him as saying Mr. Simpson's 25-year-old son should be investigated for the two slayings.

The Record-Journal of Meriden, Conn., reported Thursday that Dr. Lee replied "Jason" when asked at a Rotary Club luncheon the day before whether anyone besides Mr. Simpson should have been considered a suspect. Record-Journal Managing Editor Don Schiller said the paper stands by its story.

* The president of the State Bar of California urged caution yesterday about changing the legal system in response to the Simpson trial and said he opposed banning TVs in courtrooms.

"The things that people are now trying to 'fix' have worked well for us for about 200 years," James Towery said at a news conference in San Francisco.

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