ESPN’s new documentary “OJ: Made in America,” opens with stunning footage of a 2013 hearing in which Nevada Parole Commissioner Susan Jackson asks OJ Simpson about that time he was arrested in 1994.
Simpson appears shocked that Jackson, like almost everyone else in America, doesn’t know the details already. The 1994 arrest was for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Simpson was acquitted the next year, but sentenced to 33 years in prison in 2007 for trying to steal sports memorabilia he said was stolen from him.
After the hearing, Simpson was granted parole on some charges. But he was ineligible for parole on the others, which means he will remain behind bars for the time being.
The 15-minute video of the full hearing (above) includes many details that that the first episode of “OJ: Made in America” does not. Simpson begins by saying that when he first arrived at Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center, he vowed to be “the best person that they’ve ever had here.” He says he thinks he’s succeeded.
“I’ve not had any instances, despite all those stories in the tabloids and everything,” he says. “I haven’t had one incident since I’ve been here.”
He also says many inmates have told him about robberies they pulled — “even one guy who robbed a gun shop, which I think took a lot of guts.”
Simpson says he isn’t like the other inmates, who tried to steal other peoples’ possessions.
“My crime was trying to retrieve for my family my own property, property that was stolen from me,” he said, adding that California officials have ruled that it did in fact belong to him.
Simpson also says he missed his sister’s funeral and two of his children’s college graduations while behind bars. He say he deeply regrets confronting the men he believes stole from him.
“I wasn’t as civil as I should have been,” he said.
He is asked if alcohol was a factor, and concedes it might have been — but says he never had a drinking problem.
“I was celebrating a wedding and I had been drinking all day,” he said. “I didn’t feel that I was drunk but I also didn’t think that I was capable of driving an automobile.”
In an interview with TheWrap on Thursday, former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, who led the unsuccessful double-murder case against Simpson, said he thought Simpson’s Nevada sentence was too harsh. He said it seemed like “payback” for Simpson avoiding prison in the murder case.
“Our job is to seek justice,” Garcetti said. “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.”