LAS VEGAS, NV — After nine years in prison for armed robbery, NFL legend turned notorious lawbreaker O.J. Simpson, 70, walked free in the early morning hours of October 1, 2017.
Authorities intentionally dispatched Simpson overnight to downplay the hoopla and help ensure the safety of all involved.
In a noteworthy coincidence, the release occurred just two days before the 22nd anniversary of Simpson being found not guilty in 1995 for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. At that time, the announcement of that verdict stopped the world.
For this go-round, Simpson slipped outside minus fanfare. A reporter with video camera tracked O.J. to a gas station five hours later, and hit him up for some impromptu comments.
When asked how it felt to be out and what’s changed, Simpson said:
“I’m in a car for the last five hours, so how do I know how it feels to be out? I’ve been in nowhere U.S.A. for the last nine years doing nothing. Nothing has changed in my life. What do you expect?”
In regard to where he might be headed, Simpson answered, “None of your business.” He then said, “God bless, take care, guys,” and, flashing a thumbs-up sign, Simpson added, “Yeah, nothing’s changed.”
For his first meal as a newly free man, Simpson stopped at a McDonald’s. Malcolm Lavergne, O.J.’s attorney, said:
“He was happy to be eating something on the outside…. He said, ‘It’s better than prison food, but it’s not what it’s all cracked out to be.’”
So scratch that potential endorsement deal.
Despite being acquitted at his murder trial, Simpson lost a civil suit the following year and was ruled responsible for the deaths of his former spouse and Ron Goldman. The court also ordered Simpson to pay restitution to the Brown and Goldman families to the tune, now, of $70 million.
Attorney Robert Cook, hired to collect for the Goldmans, announced that he is ready for “round two” of squeezing money out of O.J. The lawyer said:
“The good news for me is he’s getting out. The bad news for him is I’m in good health. I’m good to go.”
Simpson’s lawyer Lavergne says Cook can try to collect from O.J., but he believes the fallen football great plans to get by on his sizable NFL pension, which cannot be touched by law, and added, “As far as I know, [Simpson] is going to live as a retiree.”
As with many retirees, it appeared as though Simpson planned to relocate to Florida. To that end, Cook has been looking hard at recent real estate deals made by Simpson’s children in the Sunshine State.
Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi also rolled out an unwelcome mat for The Juice, writing:
“Floridians are well aware of Mr. Simpson’s background, his wanton disregard for the lives of others, and of his scofflaw attitude with respect to the heinous acts for which he has been found civilly liable. Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal.”
Directly addressing Simpson, Bondi stated:
“You’re not gonna report in [to parole officers] by mail, O.J. Simpson. You’re gonna have travel restrictions, you’re gonna get alcohol tested, you’re not gonna be able to drink in our state.”
Regardless of Simpson’s infamy, Bondi has drawn heat for her declarations.
Simpson attorney Malcolm Lavergne fired back at Bondi:
“Florida is the end game. He has every right to go to Florida. The days of telling Black people where they can and cannot live is long gone… [Simpson is] not going to be an ultra-recluse guy sitting in a house with once-in-a-decade sightings. He’s not going to be the guy that’s out and about all the time either.”
For the time being, Simpson is expected to reside in his Nevada home, pending approval from his parole officer to move outside the state.
Much media speculation has arisen as to where and when Simpson will do his first post-prison interview. The New York Post quoted an anonymous source saying that “the disgraced gridiron great is expected to ask for $3 million to $5 million” to sit down with a major network figure.
The unnamed source also said reality TV could figure in Simpson’s future, telling the newspaper:
“O.J. has his options open, and that venue [reality TV] is something he could even be the executive producer on and have total say-so on. There are companies who have made it known that a television show documenting what he’ll be doing, how he’ll greet his kids, and what’s his golf game like, is a viable and potentially lucrative project because people still care, they still want to see O.J. for better or worse.”
As mentioned, any money Simpson collects going forward will fall under severe scrutiny in light of his restitution payments.
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Main photo: O.J. Simpson/YouTube video [screen shot]