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O. J. Simpson
refer to caption
Simpson in 1990
No. 32
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1947-07-09) July 9, 1947 (age 70)
San Francisco, California
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school: San Francisco (CA) Galileo
College: USC
NFL Draft: 1969 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards: 11,236
Yards per carry: 4.7
Rushing touchdowns: 61
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Orenthal James "O. J." Simpson (born July 9, 1947), nicknamed The Juice, is a former National Football League (NFL) running back, broadcaster, actor, advertising spokesman, and paroled armed robber and kidnapper. Once a popular figure with the U.S. public, he is most well known today for his trial and acquittal for the murders of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

Simpson attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he played football for the USC Trojans and won the Heisman Trophy in 1968. He played professionally in the NFL for 11 seasons as a running back, primarily with the Buffalo Bills from 1969 to 1977. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1978 to 1979. In 1973, he became the first NFL player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He holds the record for the single season yards-per-game average, which stands at 143.1. He is the only player to ever rush for over 2,000 yards in the 14-game regular season NFL format.

Simpson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. After retiring from football, he began new careers in acting and football broadcasting.

In 1994, Simpson was arrested and charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. He was acquitted by a jury after a lengthy and internationally publicized trial. The families of the victims subsequently filed a civil suit against him, and in 1997 a civil court awarded a $33.5 million judgment against Simpson for the victims' wrongful deaths.

In 2007, Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada, and charged with the felonies of armed robbery and kidnapping.[1] In 2008, he was convicted and sentenced to 33 years imprisonment, with a minimum of nine years without parole.[2] He served his sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center near Lovelock, Nevada.[3] On July 20, 2017, Simpson was granted parole. He was eligible for release from prison on October 1, 2017, and was released shortly after midnight on that date.[4][5]

Contents

Early life

Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Simpson is the son of Eunice (née Durden; 1921–2001), a hospital administrator, and Jimmy Lee Simpson (1920–1986), a chef and bank custodian.[6] His father was a well-known drag queen in the San Francisco Bay Area. Later in life, Jimmy Simpson announced that he was gay. He died of AIDS.[7][8]

Simpson's maternal grandparents were from Louisiana, and his aunt gave him the name Orenthal, which she said was the name of a French actor she liked.[9] Simpson has one brother, Melvin Leon "Truman" Simpson, one living sister, Shirley Simpson-Baker, and one deceased sister, Carmelita Simpson-Durio. As a child, Simpson developed rickets and wore braces on his legs until the age of five,[10] giving him his bowlegged stance.[11] His parents separated in 1952, and Simpson was raised by his mother.[12]

Simpson grew up in San Francisco and lived with his family in the housing projects of the Potrero Hill neighborhood.[13] In his early teenage years, he joined a street gang called the Persian Warriors and was briefly incarcerated at the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center.[10] Future wife Marquerite, his childhood sweetheart, described Simpson as "really an awful person then";[14] after his third arrest, a meeting with Willie Mays during which the baseball star encouraged Simpson to avoid trouble helped persuade him to reform.[11] At Galileo High School (currently Galileo Academy of Science and Technology) in San Francisco, Simpson played for the school football team, the Galileo Lions.

College football and athletics career

Although Simpson was an All-City football player at Galileo, his mediocre high-school grades prevented him from attracting the interest of many college recruiters. After a childhood friend's injury in the Vietnam War influenced Simpson to stay out of the military, he enrolled at City College of San Francisco in 1965.[11] He played football both ways as a running back and defensive back and was named to the Junior College All-American team as a running back.[15] City College won the Prune Bowl against Long Beach State, and many colleges sought Simpson as a transfer student for football.[11]

Simpson chose to attend the University of Southern California (USC), which he had admired as a young football fan,[11] over the University of Utah and played running back for head coach John McKay in 1967 and 1968.[16] Simpson led the nation in rushing both years under McKay: in 1967 with 1,543 yards and 13 touchdowns, and in 1968 with 1,880 yards on 383 carries.[17]

As a junior in 1967, Simpson was a close runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting to quarterback Gary Beban of UCLA. In that year's Victory Bell rivalry game between the teams, USC was down by six points in the fourth quarter with under eleven minutes remaining. On their own 36, USC backup quarterback Toby Page called an audible on third and seven. Simpson's 64-yard touchdown run tied the score, and the extra point provided a 21–20 lead, which was the final score.[18] This was the biggest play in what is regarded as one of the greatest football games of the 20th century.[19]

Another dramatic touchdown in the same game is the subject of the Arnold Friberg oil painting, O.J. Simpson Breaks for Daylight. Simpson also won the Walter Camp Award in 1967 and was a two-time consensus All-American.[20]

Simpson was an aspiring track athlete; in 1967 he lost a 100 m race at Stanford against the then-British record holder Menzies Campbell.[21] Prior to playing football at Southern Cal, he ran in the USC sprint relay quartet that broke the world record in the 4 x 110-yard relay at the NCAA track championships in Provo, Utah on June 17, 1967.[22]

As a senior in 1968, Simpson rushed for 1,709 yards and 22 touchdowns in the regular season, earning the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and Walter Camp Award. He still holds the record for the Heisman's largest margin of victory, defeating runner-up Leroy Keyes by 1,750 points. In the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, #2 USC faced top-ranked Ohio State; Simpson ran for 171 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run in a 27–16 loss.[23]

Professional football career

Buffalo Bills

 
Simpson breaking the NFL's single-season rushing record in 1973.

The first selection 1969 AFL-NFL Common Draft was held by the AFL's Buffalo Bills, after finishing 1–12–1 in 1968. They took Simpson, but he demanded what was then the largest contract in professional sports history: $650,000 over five years. This led to a standoff with Bills' owner Ralph Wilson, as Simpson threatened to become an actor and skip professional football. Eventually, Wilson agreed to pay Simpson.[24][25]

Simpson entered professional football with high expectations,[24][25] but struggled in his first three years, averaging only 622 yards per season.[26] Bills coach John Rauch, not wanting to build an offense around one running back, assigned Simpson to do blocking and receiving duties at the expense of running the ball. In 1971, Rauch resigned as head coach and the Bills brought in Harvey Johnson.[24][27][28] Despite Johnson devising a new offense for Simpson, Simpson was still ineffective that year. After the 1971 season, the Bills fired Johnson and brought in Lou Saban as head coach.[24] Unlike Rauch, Saban made Simpson the centerpiece of the Bills offense.[29]

In 1972, Simpson rushed for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, gaining a league-leading total of 1,251 yards. In 1973, Simpson became the first player to break the highly coveted 2,000 yard rushing mark, with 2,003 total rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.[26][30] Simpson broke the mark during the last game of the season against the New York Jets with a 7-yard rush. That same game also saw Simpson break Jim Brown's single-season rushing record of 1,863 yards.[31] For his performance, Simpson won that year's NFL MVP Award and Bert Bell Award.[32][33] While other players had broken the 2,000-yard mark since Simpson, this record happened back when the NFL only had 14-game seasons, as opposed to the 16-game seasons since the 1978 season.[34]

Simpson gained more than 1,000 rushing yards for each of his next three seasons. He didn't lead the league in rushing in 1974, but did cross the 1,000-yard barrier despite a sore knee.[35] In game 11 of 1974, he passed Ken Willard as the rushing leader among active players, a position he maintained until his retirement over five seasons later. Simpson also made his first and only playoff appearance during the 1974 season. In a divisional game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Simpson rushed for 49 yards on 15 attempts. Simpson also caught one touchdown pass. The Bills lost the game 32–14.[36]

Simpson won the rushing title again in 1975, rushing for 1,817 yards and 16 touchdowns. Simpson also had a career-high 426 receiving yards and 7 receiving touchdowns that season.[26] Simpson once again led the league in rushing in 1976, rushing for 1,503 yards and 8 touchdowns.[26] Simpson had the best game of his career during that season's Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions on November 25. In that game, Simpson rushed for a then-record 273 yards on 29 attempts and scored two touchdowns. Despite Simpson's performance, the Bills would lose the game 27–14.[37]

Simpson played in only seven games in 1977, as his season was cut short by injury.[9]

San Francisco 49ers

Before the 1978 season, the Bills traded Simpson to his hometown San Francisco 49ers for a series of draft picks.[38] Simpson played in San Francisco for two seasons, rushing for 1,053 yards and four touchdowns.[26] His final NFL game was on December 16, 1979, a 31–21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium.[39] His final play was a 10-yard run on 3rd and 10 for a first down.[40]

Career summary

Simpson gained 11,236 rushing yards, placing him 2nd on the NFL's all-time rushing list when he retired; he now stands at 21st. He was named NFL Player of the Year in 1973, and played in six Pro Bowls. He was the only player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a 14-game season and he's the only player to rush for over 200 yards in six different games in his career. From 1972 to 1976, Simpson averaged 1,540 rushing yards per (14 game) season, 5.1 yards per carry, and he won the NFL rushing title four times.[26] Simpson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility.[41]

Simpson played in only one playoff game during his 11-season Hall of Fame career: a 1974 Divisional Playoff between the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Simpson was held to 49 rushing yards, 3 receptions for 37 yards, and one touchdown, and the Bills lost 14-32 to the team which went on to win Super Bowl IX.[citation needed]

Simpson acquired the nickname "Juice" as a play on "O.J.", a common abbreviation for "orange juice". "Juice" is also a colloquial synonym for electricity or electrical power, and hence a metaphor for any powerful entity; the Bills' offensive line at Simpson's peak was nicknamed "The Electric Company".[42]

NFL records

  • Fastest player to gain 1,000 rushing yards in season: 1,025 in 7 games in 1973 and 1,005 in 7 games in 1975 (tied with Terrell Davis).[43]
  • Fastest player to gain 2,000 rushing yards in season: 2,003 in 14 games in 1973.
  • Most rushing yards per game in a season: 143.1 per game in 1973.

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
NFL record
AP NFL MVP & Offensive Player of the Year
Bold Career high
Season Rushing Receiving
Year Team GP GS Att Yds TD Lng Y/A Y/G A/G Rec Yds TD Lng Y/R R/G Y/G
1969 BUF 13 0 181 697 2 32 3.9 53.6 13.9 30 343 3 55 11.4 2.3 26.4
1970 BUF 8 8 120 488 5 56 4.1 61.0 15.0 10 139 0 36 13.9 1.3 17.4
1971 BUF 14 14 183 742 5 46 4.1 53.0 13.1 21 162 0 38 7.7 1.5 11.6
1972 BUF 14 14 292 1,251 6 94 4.3 89.4 20.9 27 198 0 25 7.3 1.9 14.1
1973 BUF 14 14 332 2,003 12 80 6.0 143.1 23.7 6 70 0 24 11.7 0.4 5.0
1974 BUF 14 14 270 1,125 3 41 4.2 80.4 19.3 15 189 1 29 12.6 1.1 13.5
1975 BUF 14 14 329 1,817 16 88 5.5 129.8 23.5 28 426 7 64 15.2 2.0 30.4
1976 BUF 14 13 290 1,503 8 75 5.2 107.4 20.7 22 259 1 43 11.8 1.6 18.5
1977 BUF 7 7 126 557 0 39 4.4 79.6 18.0 16 138 0 18 8.6 2.3 19.7
1978 SF 10 10 161 593 1 34 3.7 59.3 16.1 21 172 2 19 8.2 2.1 17.2
1979 SF 13 8 120 460 3 22 3.8 35.4 9.2 7 46 0 14 6.6 0.5 3.5
Career 135 116 2,404 11,236 61 94 4.7 83.2 17.8 203 2,142 14 64 10.6 1.5 15.9
9 yrs BUF 112 98 2,123 10,183 57 94 4.8 90.9 19.0 175 1,924 12 64 11.0 1.6 17.2
2 yrs SF 23 18 281 1,053 4 34 3.7 45.8 12.2 28 218 2 19 7.8 1.2 9.5

[26]

Acting career

 
Simpson in 1990 in Saudi Arabia while visiting American troops during the lead-up to the first Gulf War

Even before his retirement from the NFL, Simpson embarked on a film career with parts in films such as the television mini-series Roots (1977), and the dramatic motion pictures The Klansman (1974), The Towering Inferno (1974), The Cassandra Crossing (1976), Capricorn One (1978), and the comedic Back to the Beach (1987) and The Naked Gun trilogy (1988, 1991, 1994). In 1979, he started his own film production company, Orenthal Productions, which dealt mostly in made-for-TV fare such as the family-oriented Goldie and the Boxer films with Melissa Michaelsen (1979 and 1981), and Cocaine and Blue Eyes (1983), the pilot for a proposed detective series on NBC.

NBC was considering whether to air Frogmen, another series starring Simpson, when his arrest in 1994 on charges of murder canceled the project.[44]

Besides his acting career, Simpson worked as a commentator for Monday Night Football and The NFL on NBC.[45] He also appeared in the audience of Saturday Night Live during its second season and hosted an episode during its third season.[46]

Frogmen

Simpson starred in the un-televised two-hour-long film pilot for Frogmen, an A-Team-like adventure series that Warner Bros. Television completed in 1994, a few months before the murders. NBC had not yet decided whether to order the series when Simpson's arrest cancelled the project. While searching his home, the police obtained a videotaped copy of the pilot as well as the script and dailies. Although the prosecution investigated reports that Simpson, who played the leader of a group of former United States Navy SEALs, received "a fair amount of" military training—including use of a knife—for Frogmen, and there is a scene in which he holds a knife to the throat of a woman, this material was not introduced as evidence during the trial.[44]

NBC executive Warren Littlefield said in July 1994 that the network would probably never air the pilot if Simpson were convicted; if he were acquitted, however, one television journalist speculated that "Frogmen would probably be on the air before the NBC peacock could unfurl its plume".[47] Most pilots that are two hours long are aired as TV movies whether or not they are ordered as series. Because—as the Los Angeles Times later reported—"the appetite for all things O.J. appeared insatiable" during the trial, Warner Bros. and NBC estimated that a gigantic, Super Bowl-like television audience would have watched the Frogmen film. One of Simpson's co-stars in the film commented that the studio's decision not to air it or even release it on home video, and forego an estimated $14 million in profits, was "just about the only proof you have that there is some dignity in the advertising and television business".[44]

Juiced

In 2006, Simpson starred in his own improv, hidden-camera prank TV show, Juiced. Typical of the genre, Simpson would play a prank on everyday people while secretly filming them and at the end of each prank, he would shout, "You've been Juiced!" Less typical, each episode opened with topless strippers dancing around Simpson, who is dressed as a pimp. He sings his own rap song, which includes the lyrics "Don't you know there's no stopping the Juice / When I'm on the floor I'm like a lion on the loose / Better shoot me with a tranquilizer dart / Don't be stupid, I'm not a Simpson named Bart." In one episode, Simpson is at a used car lot in Las Vegas where he attempts to sell his white Bronco (made famous during the chase in Los Angeles prior to his arrest). A bullet hole in the front of the SUV is circled with his autograph, and he pitches it to a prospective buyer by saying that if they "ever get into some trouble and have to get away, it has escapability."[48] In another sketch called "B-I-N-G-O.J.", Simpson pretends to be having an affair with another man's girlfriend. Later he transforms into an old white man whose dying wish is to call a game of bingo. "Juiced" aired as a one-time special on pay-per-view television and was later released on DVD.[49]

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1968 Ironside Onlooker – uncredited TV episode – "Price Tag Death"
Dragnet 1968 Student – uncredited TV episode – "Community Relations DR:10"
1969 Medical Center Bru Wiley TV episode "The Last 10 Yards"
1971 Why? The Athlete Short film
1972 Cade's County Jeff Hughes TV episode "Blackout"
1973 Here's Lucy Himself TV episode "The Big Game"
1974 The Klansman Garth
O. J. Simpson: Juice on the Loose Himself TV documentary
The Towering Inferno Jernigan
1976 The Cassandra Crossing Haley Simpson plays the part of a police officer with Interpol
Killer Force Alexander
1977 A Killing Affair Woodrow York TV
Roots Kadi Touray
1978 Capricorn One Cmdr. John Walker
1979 Firepower Catlett
Goldie and the Boxer Joe Gallagher TV (executive producer)
1980 Detour to Terror Lee Hayes TV (executive producer)
1981 Goldie and the Boxer Go to Hollywood Joe Gallagher TV (executive producer)
1983 Cocaine and Blue Eyes Michael Brennen TV (executive producer)
1983 Hambone and Hillie Tucker
1985–1991 1st & Ten T.D. Parker Five episodes
1987 Back to the Beach Man at Airport Uncredited
Student Exchange Soccer Coach TV
1988 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Detective Nordberg
1989 In the Heat of the Night Councilman Lawson Stiles TV episode "Walkout"
1991 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear Detective Nordberg
1993 CIA Code Name: Alexa Nick Murphy
For Goodness Sake Man in restaurant Simpson was edited out of later releases of this short film after he was charged with murder.[50][51][52]
No Place to Hide Allie Wheeler
1994 Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult Detective Nordberg
Frogmen John 'Bullfrog' Burke Unaired TV movie
2006 Juiced with O. J. Simpson Himself TV pay-per-view
2011 Jail Himself Season 2, Episode 18

Endorsements

In 1975, People magazine described Simpson as "the first black athlete to become a bona fide lovable media superstar".[14] Chuck Barnes helped him form business relationships with Chevrolet and ABC early in his career. By 1971, New York wrote that Simpson was already wealthy enough to, "retire this week if [he] wanted to".[53] His amiable persona and natural charisma landed Simpson numerous endorsement deals. From 1975, he appeared in advertisements with Hertz rental car company, in whose commercials he was depicted running through airports, serving as an embodiment of speed;[54] Simpson estimated that the very successful campaign raised the recognition rate among people he met from 30% to 90%.[11] He was also a longtime spokesman for Pioneer Chicken and owned two franchises, one of which was destroyed during the 1992 Los Angeles riots; as well as HoneyBaked Ham, the pX Corporation, and Calistoga Water Company's line of Napa Naturals soft drinks. He also appeared in comic book ads for Dingo cowboy boots.

Family life

 
Simpson with his daughter, Sydney Brooke in 1986

At age 19 on June 24, 1967, Simpson married Marguerite L. Whitley. Together, they had three children: Arnelle L. Simpson (b. 1968), Jason L. Simpson (b. 1970), and Aaren Lashone Simpson (1977–1979). In August 1979, Aaren drowned in the family's swimming pool.[55][56]

Simpson met Nicole Brown in 1977, while she was working as a waitress at the nightclub "The Daisy".[57][58] Although still married to his first wife, Simpson began dating Brown. Simpson and Marguerite divorced in March 1979.[59][60](pp126–28)

Brown and Simpson were married on February 2, 1985, five years after his retirement from professional football.[61] The couple had two children, Sydney Brooke Simpson (b. 1985) and Justin Ryan Simpson (b. 1988).[62] The marriage lasted seven years, during which Simpson pleaded no contest to spousal abuse in 1989.[63] Brown filed for divorce on February 25, 1992, citing irreconcilable differences.[60](p136) In 1993, after the divorce, Brown and Simpson made an attempt at reconciliation, but according to Sheila Weller "they were a dramatic, fractious, mutually obsessed couple before they married, after they married, after they divorced in 1992, and after they reconciled".[64]

Legal history

Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman murders and trials

Criminal trial for murder

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found stabbed to death outside Nicole's condominium in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. Simpson was a person of interest in their murders. Simpson did not turn himself in, and on June 17 he became the object of a low-speed pursuit in a white Ford Bronco SUV; TV stations interrupted coverage of the 1994 NBA Finals to broadcast the incident live. The pursuit, arrest, and trial were among the most widely publicized events in American history. The trial, often characterized as the Trial of the Century because of its international publicity similar to that of Sacco and Vanzetti and the Lindbergh kidnapping, culminated after eleven months on October 3, 1995, when the jury rendered a verdict of "not guilty" for the two murders. An estimated 100 million people nationwide tuned in to watch or listen to the verdict announcement.[65] Following Simpson's acquittal, no additional arrests or convictions related to the murders were made.

Immediate reaction to the verdict was notable for its division along racial lines: a poll of Los Angeles County residents showed that most African Americans there felt that justice had been served by the "not guilty" verdict, while the majority of whites and Latinos expressed an opinion that it had not.[66] O. J. Simpson's integrated defense counsel included Johnnie Cochran, Robert Kardashian, Robert Shapiro, and F. Lee Bailey. Marcia Clark was the lead prosecutor for the State of California.[67][68]

According to a 2016 poll, 83% of white Americans and 57% of black Americans believe Simpson was guilty of the murders.[69]

Wrongful death civil trial

Following Simpson's acquittal of criminal charges, Ron Goldman's family filed a civil lawsuit against Simpson. Daniel Petrocelli represented plaintiff Fred Goldman (Ronald Goldman's father), while Robert Baker represented Simpson.[70] Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki presided,[70] and he barred television and still cameras, radio equipment, and courtroom sketch artists from the courtroom.[71] On October 23, 1996, opening statements were made, and on January 16, 1997, both sides rested their cases.[72]

On February 5, 1997, a civil jury in Santa Monica, California unanimously found Simpson liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Goldman, and battery against Brown. Simpson was ordered to pay $33,500,000 in damages. In February 1999, an auction of Simpson's Heisman Trophy and other belongings netted almost $500,000, which went to the Goldman family.[73]

The Goldman family also tried to collect Simpson's NFL $28,000 yearly pension[74] but failed to collect any money.[75]

In 1997, Simpson was evicted from the estate in which he had lived for 20 years, at 360 North Rockingham Avenue, after defaulting on the mortgage. In July 1998, the house was demolished by its next owner, Kenneth Abdalla, an investment banker and president of the Jerry's Famous Deli chain.[76] The property's address has since been renumbered to 380 North Rockingham Avenue.[77]

A 2000 Rolling Stone article reported that Simpson still made a significant income by signing autographs. He subsequently moved from California to Florida, settling in Miami. In Florida, among a few states, a person's residence cannot be seized to collect a debt under most circumstances.

On September 5, 2006, Goldman's father took Simpson back to court to obtain control over Simpson's "right to publicity", for purposes of satisfying the judgment in the civil court case.[78] On January 4, 2007, a federal judge issued a restraining order prohibiting Simpson from spending any advance he may have received on a canceled book deal and TV interview about the 1994 murders. The matter was dismissed before trial for lack of jurisdiction.[78] On January 19, 2007, a California state judge issued an additional restraining order, ordering Simpson to restrict his spending to "ordinary and necessary living expenses".[78]

On March 13, 2007, a judge prevented Simpson from receiving any further compensation from the defunct book deal and TV interview, and the judge ordered the bundled book rights to be auctioned.[79] In August 2007, a Florida bankruptcy court awarded the rights to the book to the Goldman family, to partially satisfy an unpaid civil judgment. Originally titled If I Did It, the book was renamed If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer, with the word "If" reduced in size to make the title appear to read I Did It: Confessions of the Killer. Additional material was added by members of the Goldman family, investigative journalist Dominick Dunne, and author Pablo Fenjves.[80]

Other legal troubles

The State of California claims Simpson owes $1.44 million in back taxes.[81] A tax lien was filed in his case on September 1, 1999.[82]

In the late 1990s, Simpson attempted to register "O.J. Simpson", "O.J.", and "The Juice" as trademarks for "a broad range of goods, including figurines, trading cards, sportswear, medallions, coins, and prepaid telephone cards."[83] A "concerned citizen", William B. Ritchie, sued to oppose the granting of federal registration on the grounds that doing so would be immoral and scandalous. Simpson gave up the effort in 2000.

In February 2001, Simpson was arrested in Miami-Dade County, Florida, for simple battery and burglary of an occupied conveyance, for yanking the glasses off another motorist during a traffic dispute three months earlier. If convicted, Simpson could have faced up to 16 years in prison, but he was tried and quickly acquitted on both charges in October 2001.[84]

On December 4, 2001, Simpson's Miami home was searched by the FBI on suspicion of ecstasy possession and money laundering. The FBI had received a tip that Simpson was involved in a major drug trafficking ring after 10 other suspects were arrested in the case. Simpson's home was thoroughly searched for two hours, but no illegal drugs were discovered, and no arrest or formal charges were filed following the search. However, investigators uncovered equipment capable of stealing satellite television programming, which eventually led to Simpson's being sued in federal court.[85]

On July 4, 2002, Simpson was arrested in Miami-Dade County, Florida, for water speeding through a manatee protection zone and failing to comply with proper boating regulations.[86] The misdemeanor boating regulation charge was dropped, and Simpson was fined for the speeding infraction.[87]

In March 2004, satellite television network DirecTV, Inc. accused Simpson in a Miami federal court of using illegal electronic devices to pirate its broadcast signals. The company later won a $25,000 judgment, and Simpson was ordered to pay an additional $33,678 in attorney's fees and costs.[88]

Las Vegas robbery

On the night of September 13, 2007, a group of men led by Simpson entered a room at the Palace Station hotel-casino and took sports memorabilia at gunpoint, which resulted in Simpson's being questioned by police.[89][90] Simpson admitted to taking the items, which he said had been stolen from him, but denied breaking into the hotel room; he also denied that he or anyone else carried a gun.[91][92] He was released after questioning.

Two days later, Simpson was arrested[1] and initially held without bail.[93] Along with three other men, Simpson was charged with multiple felony counts, including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon.[94][95] Bail was set at $125,000, with stipulations that Simpson have no contact with the co-defendants and that he surrender his passport. Simpson did not enter a plea.[96][97]

By the end of October 2007, all three of Simpson's co-defendants had plea-bargained with the prosecution in the Clark County, Nevada, court case. Walter Alexander and Charles H. Cashmore accepted plea agreements in exchange for reduced charges and their testimony against Simpson and three other co-defendants, including testimony that guns were used in the robbery.[98] Co-defendant Michael McClinton told a Las Vegas judge that he too would plead guilty to reduced charges and testify against Simpson that guns were used in the robbery. After the hearings, the judge ordered that Simpson be tried for the robbery.

On November 8, 2007, Simpson had a preliminary hearing to decide whether he would be tried for the charges. He was held over for trial on all 12 counts. Simpson pleaded not guilty on November 29, and the trial was reset from April to September 8, 2008.[99] Court officers and attorneys announced, on May 22, 2008, that long questionnaires with at least 115 queries would be given to a jury pool of 400 or more.[99]

In January 2008, Simpson was taken into custody in Florida and flown to Las Vegas, where he was incarcerated at the county jail for violating the terms of his bail by attempting to contact Clarence "C. J." Stewart, a co-defendant in the trial. District Attorney David Roger of Clark County provided District Court Judge Jackie Glass with evidence that Simpson had violated his bail terms. A hearing took place on January 16, 2008. Glass raised Simpson's bail to US$250,000 and ordered that he remain in county jail until 15 percent was paid in cash.[100] Simpson posted bond that evening and returned to Miami the next day.[101]

Simpson and his co-defendant were found guilty of all charges on October 3, 2008.[102] On October 10, 2008, Simpson's counsel moved for a new trial (trial de novo) on grounds of judicial errors and insufficient evidence.[103] Simpson's attorney announced he would appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court if Judge Glass denied the motion.[103] The attorney for Simpson's co-defendant, C. J. Stewart, petitioned for a new trial, alleging Stewart should have been tried separately and cited possible misconduct by the jury foreman.[103][104][105]

Simpson faced a possible life sentence with parole on the kidnapping charge, and mandatory prison time for armed robbery.[106] On December 5, 2008, Simpson was sentenced to a total of thirty-three years in prison,[107] with the possibility of parole after nine years, in 2017.[2] On September 4, 2009, the Nevada Supreme Court denied a request for bail during Simpson's appeal. In October 2010, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed his convictions.[108] He served his sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center where his inmate ID number was #1027820.[109]

A Nevada judge agreed on October 19, 2012, to "reopen the armed robbery and kidnapping case against O. J. Simpson to determine if the former football star was so badly represented by his lawyers that he should be freed from prison and get another trial."[110] A hearing was held beginning May 13, 2013, to determine if Simpson is entitled to a new trial.[111] On November 27, 2013, Judge Linda Bell denied Simpson's bid for a new trial on the robbery conviction. In her ruling, Bell wrote that all of Simpson's contentions lacked merit.[112]

On July 31, 2013, the Nevada Parole Board granted Simpson parole on some convictions, but his imprisonment continued based on the weapons and assault convictions. The board considered Simpson's prior record of criminal convictions and good behavior in prison in coming to the decision.[113] At his parole hearing on July 20, 2017, the board decided to grant Simpson parole. He was released on October 1, 2017, having served nine years.[114][115]

Popular culture

Films and television

Films

Series and mini-series

  • In CBS's TV miniseries American Tragedy (November 15, 2000), Simpson is played by Raymond Forchion.[123]
  • The documentary mini-series, O.J.: Made in America (released January 22, 2016, at Sundance), directed by Ezra Edelman and produced by Laylow Films, is an American 5-part, 7.5-hour film that previewed at the Tribeca and Sundance Film Festivals and is airing as part of the 30 for 30 series airing on the ABC and ESPN sister networks. This film adds "rich contextual layers to the case, including a dive into the history of Los Angeles race relations that played such a central role in his acquittal".[124] As James Poniewozik observed in his June 20, 2016, New York Times review: "the director Ezra Edelman pulls back, way back, like a news chopper over a freeway chase. Before you hear about the trial, the documentary says, you need to hear all the stories—the stories of race, celebrity, sports, America—that it's a part of."[125] The film won a 2017 Academy Award for best Documentary Feature.
  • In FX's cable TV mini-series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (February 2016), based on Jeffrey Toobin's book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson (1997), Simpson is portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr.[126]

Exhibits

  • The Bronco from Simpson's police chase is on display in Pigeon Forge's Alcatraz East Crime Museum.[127][128]

See also

References

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External links

Preceded by
Chevy Chase
Saturday Night Live host
February 25, 1978
Succeeded by
Art Garfunkel