MIAMI: PR pro Valerie Zucker was jolted out of bed by a 6:50am
phone call Tuesday. Turn on the TV, she was told. Zucker did, and saw
that the home of OJ Simpson was searched by federal agents as part of an
investigation into sale of the drug ecstasy, the unauthorized use of
satellite dish technology, and money laundering.
Zucker immediately began formulating a media strategy, consulting with
her client, and trying to understand the facts of the case.
But Zucker isn't Simpson's spokesperson; she's the spokesperson for
Yale Galanter, Simpson attorney and mouthpiece, hired Zucker in March
2000 to represent him in his dealings with Simpson and other
high-profile people and cases. She has since founded her own agency,
Zucker Public Relations.
Zucker's role is to screen media calls, set parameters for interviews,
and choose the most legitimate and substantial media opportunities for
both Galanter and Simpson to communicate their message: that Simpson is
a loving father and good community member.
"OJ does not speak to anyone without Yale, and he and I work together to
strategically position those interviews," explained Zucker.
Zucker communicated with international media when Simpson's home was
searched, and arranged a noon press conference at which Galanter spoke
to more than 30 media outlets. Zucker watched the conference on TV as
she fielded the stream of calls from Good Morning America, Inside
Edition, Court TV, CNN, AP, Reuters, and more.
"I don't think there's media I haven't spoken to," she said.
Zucker said she does not concern herself with the legal complications of
Galanter's work. She concentrates on the PR.
"It's a challenge to filter through all of the OJ phenomenon and have
the press focus on one thing, which is my client, the attorney. We've
spent a lot of time getting the press to call Mr. Galanter or myself,
and not OJ. They respond to that now, and they know Yale has full
control of what OJ will say in the media," said Zucker.