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20 July 2017

OJ Simpson makes case for prison parole in Nevada

OJ seated beside his attorneyImage copyright
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OJ seated beside his attorney

Former US football star and actor OJ Simpson is appearing before a parole board to ask to be released after nine years in a Nevada prison.

Simpson, who was acquitted for a double murder in 1995, is serving time for armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and 11 other charges.

The sentence, which carries a maximum of 33 years, stems from a 2007 confrontation at a Las Vegas hotel.

Simpson, 70, had said he was only trying to reclaim his possessions.

The former Hall of Fame running back was found guilty in 2008 – exactly 13 years to the day after he was famously acquitted for the killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

He and a group of five others stormed into a hotel room to confront two sports-memorabilia collectors to seize items that he claimed belonged to him from his own career.

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Media caption“If he is denied parole… it will be part of the continuing payback… since his acquittal in 1995,” says Jeffrey Toobin

“I didn’t mean to hurt anybody and I didn’t mean to steal from anybody,” he told the judge at the time.

The hearing for Prisoner 1027820 is happening at the Lovelock Correctional Facility, a medium security prison in the Nevada desert.

“Mr Simpson, you are getting the same hearing that everyone else gets,” a parole panellist, Connie Bisbee, told him as Thursday’s hearing began.

“I want to make that clear from the get-go.”

“Sure,” he replied in a husky voice with a shrug and a smile. “Thank you, ma’am.”

Simpson told parole officials that the objects that he had taken from the Las Vegas hotel room were later ruled by officials to legally belong to him.

One panellists asked: “So you believe that the property was yours?”

“It’s been ruled legally by the state of California,” Simpson responded, raising his voice.

He said the property, which he described as images of his family and friends, was later handed over to him by officials.

“It’s kind of mind-boggling that they turned over to me property that I’m in jail for, for trying to retrieve.”

If four out of seven members of the parole board vote in favour of his release, he could be free by October.

Experts believe he is likely to be approved for release, after a record of good behaviour at the Lovelock prison.

In 2013 the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners granted him parole on some of his convictions, but for not the more violent charges.

Bruce Fromong, who one of Simpson’s victims in the robbery, is expected to testify in favour of his release.

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