I’ve covered all things O.J. Simpson since 1995. Here’s my forecast on his future ~
Allow me to go out on a limb here to predict O.J. Simpson has not had his last tango with law enforcement.
Yes, he recently got a Nevada parole board to approve his release from prison on or about October first. But after serving nine years for kidnapping and armed robbery I got the impression Simpson really doesn’t think he did anything wrong back in 2007.
A parole commissioner asked him about the night he and a posse of pals (two of whom were armed) stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room and demanded the return of Simpson’s memorabilia.
“What were you thinking?” Commissioner Tony Corda asked.
“It was my property,” Simpson said with a shrug and a smile. “I wasn’t there to steal from anybody.” And he proceeded to launch into one of his famously long soliloquies.
“I never should have allowed those security guys to be there,” Simpson told the board, referring to the two men with guns. “They were just out for themselves.”
One of those armed men was Walter Alexander, who readily admits he used to be the guy who got the drugs for his buddies during their long weekend get togethers. But these days, Alexander says, he has found God and turned his life around.
I watched O.J.’s parole hearing sitting next to Alexander on the New York set of a cable TV program. He looked stunned as O.J. gave his revisionist version of events from a decade ago. Early on Alexander turned to me and whispered, “He is not telling the truth.”
“What is he talking about, that we were out for ourselves?” Alexander asked. “Why does he keep calling us ‘security guys’ like he didn’t know us? He asked us to come with him to get his stuff back!”
Back on the TV screen Simpson expressed open-palmed surprise that there had been guns in the room. Alexander, who had told me he hoped his longtime ex-friend would win his freedom that day, sat upright in his seat.
“He just blew it. They will know he’s lying,” Alexander said as he sadly shook his head. He was convinced O.J. had just lost his parole bid.
Alexander was sure the commissioners remembered his own trial testimony and that of Michael McClinton, the other gunman in the hotel room. Both testified during O.J.’s trial that they had firearms at O.J.’s insistence and right before they entered Simpson instructed them to “show the guns and look menacing.”
“I feel sorry for him,” Alexander said as he sunk back down in his seat on the set. HLN host Erica Hill and I passed a glance wondering if he was right. Would the Nevada parole commissioners see through Simpson’s golly-gee-I-didn’t-know-anything guise?
Then those jaw dropping comments from Simpson.
“I have, basically, led a conflict-free life,” prisoner #1027820 told the parole board.
Really? How many people do you know who have faced four separate court trials as Simpson has? One in 1995 on that infamous charge of double murder, a 1997 civil proceeding at which he was ordered to pay the family of murder victim Ron Goldman a settlement of $33.5 million, a 2001 road rage trial that found him not guilty of burglary and battery and, of course, the 2008 trial in Las Vegas.
He’s led a “conflict-free” life? Does O.J. Simpson think we’re stupid?
When Simpson said, “Nobody has ever accused me of pulling any weapon on them,” I thought of two people who would argue with that if only they weren’t dead – Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ron Goldman.
“I don’t think anybody’s ever accused me of having an alcohol problem or any kind of substance problem,” Simpson said when a commissioner asked why he’d failed to take an alcohol abuse program in prison as he’d promised. From the seat to my left Alexander said, “He had been drinking all day (in 2007). He was totally drunk when we went to that room.”
My own reporting during the 1995-96 double murder investigation and trial contradicted that statement too. I whispered to Alexander that back in the day sources had told me Simpson was a frequent drinker and drug user.
“Cocaine and ecstasy were his favorites,” Alexander said in a matter of fact tone.
I could continue to pick apart Simpson’s statements to the parole board but why? The commissioners chose to ignore Simpson’s discrepancies and seemed to have pre-determined the outcome of this televised extravaganza.
So, O.J. walks free in a couple of months. His fate will, once again, rest with his own behavior. Given his propensity to blame everyone else for his problems I’m betting he’ll find it tough to stick to the strict restrictions of his parole. I wonder if O.J. realizes that no matter where he goes countless cell phone cameras will be ready to capture his every move.
Simpson says he just wants to go back to his family in Florida and live quietly. Good idea. Then he can finally fulfill his 1995 promise to, “pursue as my primary goal in life the killer or killers who slaughtered Nicole and Mr. Goldman.”