This article was originally published on ABC News on June 20, 2017
O.J. Simpson is holding out hope as he prepares to face a parole board in Nevada that could set him free, according to a friend.
“He’s hopeful. He’s not going to try and retry the case,” Simpson’s friend, Tom Scotto, told ABC News. “He’s done all positive things in prison for the prison and bringing everybody together.”
Simpson was convicted in 2008 on armed robbery and kidnapping charges stemming from his attempt in 2007 to recover memorabilia from two sports collectibles dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room. He was sentenced to a 33-year prison term.
Simpson contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him. His bid for a new trial in the case was rejected in 2013, but he was granted parole that same year on some of the charges, based on good behavior. He was not released from prison at that time, since his prison sentences were set to run consecutively. Simpson had to wait until this year to appear again before the parole board.
The Nevada Department of Corrections announced today that the parole hearing date when commissioners will meet and decide Simpson’s future is set for July 20.
ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams said Simpson’s high profile could hurt his case for parole.
“If you look at what happened in 2013 you would say, ‘Same factors are going to be applied here, except for the crime itself, you would think that he’s got a pretty good shot,'” Abrams said today on “Good Morning America.” “Except the fact that he’s O.J. Simpson has just got to play into this in some shape or form.”
“If he wasn’t O.J. Simpson, his chances would be quite good,” Abrams said, adding that the seven parole board commissioners look at 11 factors in deciding on parole, including the crime itself and the inmate’s behavior in prison, gender and age.
Scotto, who says he talks to Simpson weekly, said the former NFL star has spoken to him about the life he envisions if he is freed.
“He wants to just keep a low profile, be with his kids, be with his family, play golf,” Scotto said. “It’s one of his main things.”
Simpson, who will turn 70 in July, was acquitted more than 20 years ago of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.
A civil jury later ordered Simpson to pay $33.5 million in damages after finding him liable for wrongful death in the double murder.
Simpson’s murder trial was brought back into the spotlight last year with the FX miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” that featured Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson. The so-called “trial of the century” was also featured in an ESPN documentary, “Made in America,” that won an Oscar.
If Simpson is granted parole next month, he would be released in October. If not, commissioners will decide the date of the next parole board meeting, which could be as far away as five years.
Ron Goldman’s family told ABC News earlier this year they cannot bear the idea of Simpson as a free man.
“Disgust,” Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, said when asked what it would look like to him if Simpson was paroled.
Added Goldman’s sister, Kim Goldman, “He committed a horrible heinous crime, and I have no feeling except rot in hell.”