Ronald Goldman died with Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of O.J. Simpson, in Los Angeles on June 12, 1994. ((Associated Press))

The family of murder victim Ronald Goldman plans to release O.J. Simpson's cancelled book, If I Did It, as a way of casting light on Simpson's character.

Fred Goldman, Ronald Goldman's father, says the book portrays the former football star as "a wife-beater, as a murderer, written in his own words."

On Monday, a federal bankruptcy judge in Miami awarded the rights to the book to the Goldmans, allowing only a very small claim from the family of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol said proceeds from the book would help satisfy a $38-million US wrongful death judgment in favour of the Goldmans.

"After 13 years of trying to get some justice, today is probably the first time we had any sense of seeing light at the end of the tunnel," said a tearful Goldman, who attended the hearing with his daughter, Kim. "It's gratifying to see."

The former football star's ex-wife and her friend Goldman were slain in a 1994 knife attack.

Simpson was acquitted of murder in 1995, but was successfully sued by families of the two victims.

Brown's father, Louis Brown, had requested the court give equal rights to all the creditors. The Browns won a $24-million civil suit against Simpson, but have been awarded only 10 per cent share of gross proceeds from the book.

"It allows the Goldmans to recover at the expense of the Browns," said the Brown familylawyer Stephen Rakusin.

The Browns were latecomers to a series of legal actionsby the Goldmans, who were trying to ensure Simpson didn't benefit from sales of a book about the double murders.

The book, which Simpson claims was written by a ghostwriter, was cancelled before it was published because of a public outcry.

There are reports Simpson was paid about $630,000 US, though a corporation with his children as major shareholders was set up to receive the payment.

That corporation, Lorraine Brooke Associates, filed for bankruptcy and the Goldmans pursued the money through bankruptcy courts.

Goldman lawyer David Cook said the family is already in discussion with literary agents and publishing houses.

Goldman said he will not alter the manuscript, in which Simpson describes his relationship with his ex-wife and describes how the slayings might have been committed.

But he may add a prologue or other material to the book.

The judge said he regretted the animosity between the Browns and the Goldmans.

"They're both the victims of a horrible tragedy," Cristol said. "It's sad they would be reduced to quibbling with each other instead of working together."

With files from the Associated Press