Gil Garcetti, the prosecutor whose office failed to win a double murderer conviction against OJ Simpson, says Simpson’s current 33-year-sentence for armed robbery is too long.
Garcetti, who says Simpson’s acquittal in 1995 cost him his dream job as Los Angeles County District Attorney, believes a Nevada court sentenced him too harshly in 2007 as “payback” for getting acquitted in the deaths of Ron Goldman and Simpson’s ex, Nicole Brown Simpson.
“Our job is to seek justice,” Garcetti told TheWrap. “Justice was not served when OJ Simpson was acquitted. But in my mind, justice was not served either when he was sentenced to 33 years for the crimes for which he was convicted.”
Garcetti is one of more than 70 people interviewed for the new ESPN Films documentary “OJ: Made in America,” which begins airing Saturday.
“In my opinion it was a sentence out of proportion to both the crime and his criminal background. And when I say criminal background, he was not convicted of a murder,” said the ex-prosecutor, whose son Eric is now mayor of Los Angeles.
“I don’t feel sorry for him being in prison. But I have a problem with the justice system when they impose 33 years on that kind of a crime,” Garcetti added. “I guess it was payback.”
He said whether Simpson should be released is “up to the parole board” but that he doesn’t expect it to be “anytime soon.”
“I think the sentence was unduly harsh in part because he’d been acquitted of the earlier crimes. … OJ Simpson is obviously not the brightest guy in the world. He is of the opinion, ‘I can get away with anything. I got away with murder.’ … Well, he didn’t get away with it this time.”
Garcetti was re-elected to a second term in 1996, a year after Simpson’s acquittal on the murders. But he says voters remembered, and held the acquittal against him when they voted him out in 2000.
“The anger remained for another four years,” Garcetti said. “People were still very upset with me because we did not convict OJ Simpson. And when I lost my second re-election it was in good part because of residual anger directed at me.”
“O.J.: Made in America” premieres on ABC Saturday, June 11, then moves to ESPN the following week with the next four parts airing over four days — June 14, 15, 17 and 18.