O.J. Simpson walked free from a Nevada prison shortly after midnight Sunday, an hour a prison official said was intended “to avoid any incidents and to ensure public safety.”
Prison spokeswoman Brooke Keast told TheWrap that Simpson was released at 12:08 a.m. PDT from Lovelock Correctional Center, about 90 miles east of Reno.
She said Simpson left with a driver in a light-colored SUV and that she had no idea where he went. (She didn’t know the model of the SUV, but laughed “no, no, no” when asked if it was a white Ford Bronco.)
“There was so much extreme interest from different media sources in this release that we wanted to avoid a paparazzi situation,” she said, adding that the prison had not received any threats. “There was no media here whatsoever, so nobody followed, which was what our hope was.”
In July, Nevada’s parole board voted to release Simpson after he testified to leading a “conflict-free life.”
The former football star was sentenced to nine to 33 years for armed robbery and kidnapping after a 2007 standoff at the Palace Station hotel in Las Vegas, where Simpson said he was trying to recover sports memorabilia he said had been stolen from him.
Simpson, who was acquitted in 1995 in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, had been incarcerated at Lovelock since 2008.
In July, Simpson persuaded Nevada’s parole board to release him before his sentence expired in 2022. Simpson told the Nevada board that he planned to move to Florida: “I could easily stay in Nevada but I don’t think you guys want me here,” he said.
Simpson lived in the wealthy Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles at the time of the murders, a short drive from Brown’s home, where she and Goldman were found butchered in 1994.
He first moved to Florida around 2000, three years after he was ordered in a civil trial to pay $33 million to the Brown and Goldman families. The civil court, which had a less stringent standard of proof than Simpson’s criminal jury, found him responsible for the killings.
Simpson has never come close to paying the debt. Besides sunshine and golf courses — Simpson’s favorite club in Brentwood, the Riviera, cold-shouldered him after the murder trial — Florida has other appeal for a man trying to protect his assets. In Florida, it is illegal to seize someone’s home to recover a debt.
It’s unclear how much money Simpson has squirreled away, or how much he can earn in the future.
Simpson said in a letter that was read by his lawyer during the parole hearing that he might start “a webcast or blog” with the computer skills he learned while in prison. Most webcasts and blogs don’t make much money — but most aren’t hosted by OJ Simpson.
By law, the Goldman and Brown families cannot touch Simpson’s pension money. But David Cook, who represents Goldman’s father, Fred, has said he will come after as much of Simpson’s money as he can.
“If he is going to be out on October 1, we will be there on October 2,” he told Fox News.