Former National Football League superstar O.J. Simpson, who went on to a successful post-football career as a Hollywood actor and TV advertising pitchman until he was accused of murdering his estranged wife and another man in 1994, has served the last nine years in prison on an armed robbery conviction. But prison officials say that Simpson, who was controversially acquitted of the double murder in 1995 following a sensational, 11-month televised trial, will has a free man once again, walking out of prison early Sunday morning.
Now, a new report claims that Simpson plans to cash in on his new freedom quickly, demanding as much as $5 million to grant his first TV interview following his release on parole from High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs, Nevada.
Simpson’s armed robbery conviction resulted from a 2007 incident in a Las Vegas hotel room when Simpson and four other men attempted to take valuable sports memorabilia items that Simpson claimed were his from a pair of memorabilia dealers.
Though he was acquitted of the 1994 murders, in 1997 he was found liable for the deaths of the two victims — Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman — and hit with a $33.5 million civil judgment. As a result, he was forced to give up many of the personal mementos he collected from his storied NFL career.
Simpson was sentenced to 33 years on the armed robbery conviction, which would have effectively been a life sentence for the fallen NFL star, who is now 70-years-old. Serving his full sentence would have kept him behind bars until the age of 94.
After a decade of financial struggles and another nine years spent in prison, Simpson is now looking for a huge payoff to rebuild his lost fortune, according to the Saturday report by the New York Post newspaper.
According to the report, Simpson is eyeing major network TV shows to tell his story — at a price anywhere from $3 million to $5 million. “He’s not talking for free,” a source described as a “longtime confidant” of Simpson told the paper.
“It has to be the big one because he’s only going to do it one time and it has to be worth his while.”
Simpson is said to be considering approaches to the NBC Today show where he would be interviewed by host Matt Lauer, or even to NBC’s newest personality, transplanted Fox News host Megyn Kelly. A sit-down with Oprah Winfrey, now a contributor to the long-running CBS News program 60 Minutes is also a possibility, according to the Post report.
What the Post was not able to confirm, however, was whether any TV network has expressed interest in interviewing Simpson on the air, especially with such a hefty price tag attached. The major networks maintain that they do not pay interview subjects to appear on news programs.
Since his historic and widely viewed 1994-1995 trial, the American public’s views of Simpson have changed, with an overwhelming majority now convinced that the former NFL great should have been convicted of the Brown-Goldman double murder, which took place in the wealthy Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, on June 12, 1994.
In fact, according to a poll taken in 2014 by CNN, at the time of his criminal trial about 60 percent of African-Americans believed that Simpson was innocent of the crimes, but by 2014 more than half believed he was guilty. In fact, 66 percent of all Americans in 1994 believed Simpson was guilty, but by 2014 that figure had risen to 83 percent.
Simpson has reportedly also considered starring in his own reality TV show to generate income following his prison release, which would perhaps be fitting. Not only is his lurid 1994-1995 trial credited by cultural commentators with ushering in the era of reality television, Simpson has another connection to the reality TV genre. His personal friend and lawyer Robert Kardashian — who is believed by some experts on the Simpson trial to have destroyed evidence that could have led to Simpson’s conviction in the murder case — was the father of reality TV star Kim Kardashian. Robert Kardashian died of cancer in 2003.
[Featured Image by Jason Bean/AP Images]