by Jessica Rosenthal
OJ Simpson will be released this fall after serving nine years for robbery, kidnapping, weapons, and assault convictions. He maintains he was trying to take back items that were his from two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas.
After the parole hearing, the attorney for Fred and Kim Goldman said, "it's round two for me." Round two, in this case means, another chance to go after OJ Simpson's money. However small the amount may be.
David Cook admits he hasn't pursued much of Simpson's finances in the past decade while he's been in prison but says now Simpson, "will seek to monetize his name. He has a brand, his name. And he will try to turn that into money. It's probably even more valuable now." Cook has been going after Simpson for years, for settlement money he owes the Goldman family. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995. But a different jury in a civil case found him liable for their deaths in 1997 owing the families $33.5 million.
Cook says his attempt to get that money and the sports memorabilia at the heart of this case, may have actually lead Simpson to commit the crime. After the robbery Simpson is heard on tape telling one of men who helped him that he gave the memorabilia to his attorney, because he didn't want "them to have it," adding that, "I knew now the Goldman's would get it and sell it, so I told these guys do whatever you want with it."
While Simpson told the parole board he intended to stay away from the media, Cook thinks it's possible Simpson could turn to social media to try to profit off his name.
During the parole hearing Simpson's attorney Malcolm Lavergne read a letter Simpson had written to a prior attorney, who is now a Nevada State Assemblyman. In the letter he writes about taking computer classes in prison.
"Who knows," Lavergne said, reading Simpson's words, "you may even see a webcast or blog in my future." At the parole hearing Simpson told the commissioners, "I thought I was glad to get my stuff back, but it just wasn't worth it," adding that he should never have brought "security," as he put it. Two of the men he brought with him to the robbery carried guns.
The board granted him parole, one commissioner stating, that while he orchestrated this crime and deserved prison, Simpson had, "complied with the rules of the prison, programmed in an acceptable manner, had no prior conviction of criminal activity. You are low risk to reoffend on our guidelines, you have community support and stable release plans."
His daughter Arnelle Simpson told the commissioners Simpson is her best friend and rock, and that her family "just wants him to come home." The board noted that he wants to head to Florida when he gets out. But that will require some logistical work.
Nevada Parole Board commissioner spokesman, Captain David Smith said, he may be released from prison on or after the date he is eligible for release, depending on when release plans are approved. In Simpson's case that date is October 1st.
Florida officials have up to 45 days to investigate the plan and make a determination whether to accept the case. Smith said, "in the case of either a returning resident or resident family, the acceptance rate, as long as there is a valid plan of supervision, is high." Simpson previously lived in Florida. If Florida doesn't nail down the plan in 45 days it could postpone things. A statement from Florida's department of corrections says, "If Nevada's request meets all criteria, Florida must accept the transfer." He would be assigned a Florida probation officer.
The man who told Fox News Radio that he's OJ Simpson's "best friend", Tom Scotto, has said Simpson could stay with him in Naples, Florida. Simpson's two younger children live in St. Petersburg Flordia. Scotto says his sister lives in Sacramento.
Wherever he goes, the media attention is sure to follow. The parole hearing alone brought out network news investments. Not just satellite trucks, but tents set up in the sweltering heat gave reporters and producers shade for their live shots. Some news outlets sent more than one reporter to cover the prison as well as the hearing two hours away in Carson City where the parole commissioners met.
The circus will be back in town in just a few months, when Simpson walks out of Lovelock prison.