A story from the Sun-Sentinal where O.J. Simpson was the spokesperson for Juice Plus at the exactly wrong time.

The story below is one of the few resources left about this:

A videotape of O.J. Simpson hawking a “cure” for his arthritis may hurt his legal defense, but for local distributors of Juice Plus – the fruit and vegetable supplements Simpson was pitching – it’s a rare publicity coup.

The tape, released last week, showed Simpson praising the healing effects of the supplements at a meeting of distributors in Dallas in March 1994, three months before the murder of his wife and her friend.

Simpson’s taped statements that his arthritis had improved could hurt his credibility. His lawyers have claimed Simpson was too crippled to commit the crime.

The tape won Juice Plus instant exposure in such diverse media as the National Enquirer and ABC World News Tonight. On Tuesday, Larry King Live focused on the tape.

“People all of a sudden are asking questions about it,” said Kathleen Lowyns of Boca Raton, who has been selling Juice Plus for almost two years with her husband, Robert. “We couldn’t buy that kind of publicity.”

The supplements are sold as encapsulated, dehydrated portions of 22 fruits and vegetables. A four-month supply retails for $179 through word-of-mouth sales networks, in which each distributor who recruits a new seller gets a commission on that person’s sales.

The private company that distributes the supplement, National Safety Associates Inc. of Memphis, Tenn., declined to release sales figures.

NSA has a spotty record in network marketing of other products.

Four years ago, it got into trouble with its aggressive marketing of air and water filtration systems.

Distributors complained that they were enticed with high profit projections, then got huge shipments of filters they couldn’t sell, said Jim Lyons, an investigator with the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

In a 1993 settlement with the attorney general, NSA did not admit wrongdoing but agreed to buy back the unused filters. The company also paid Florida $50,000 and paid nine other states $350,000.

No complaints have been filed with the state about Juice Plus.

As for the nutritional value of Juice Plus, some dieticians, such as Kathy Stone of the Cleveland Clinic, say it’s better to eat fresh fruits and vegetables than to take pills. “They just kind of give people a way of copping out on their diet,” Stone said.

But David Viehe, a Juice Plus distributor from Pompano Beach, says some people don’t have the time or inclination to eat that much fresh food.

As for NSA, it has joined other former Simpson corporate partners and suspended Simpson’s role as spokesman. The product makes no claims about cures for arthritis or any other diseases, said Jeff Sanford, company spokesman.

“The product predates its association with O.J. Simpson,” Sanford said.

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