O.J. Simpson released from Nevada prison after 9 years

(Courtesy Photo)

(Courtesy Photo)

O.J. Simpson was released from a Nevada prison early Sunday after serving nine years for a 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas.

The former football star and San Francisco native, whose 1995 murder trial in Los Angeles inspired years of debate over race and justice, was released only minutes after he became eligible, a Nevada prison official confirmed.

Brooke Keast, a spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Corrections, said prison officials sought to conduct the release quietly, with as little media attention as possible.

“It was incident-free, nobody followed; it was exactly what we’d hoped we could do for public safety,” Keast said. “It was a public safety concern — to make it quiet, under the radar and incident-free.”

Keast said she had no information on Simpson’s intended destination.

Simpson’s attorney, Malcolm LaVergne, interviewed before his client’s release, did not reveal any plans, but said Simpson was “excited” to be leaving prison.

“I can tell from his voice on the phone last night that he’s looking forward to freedom and hugging his family on the outside,” LaVergne said.

With Simpson, controversy and attention seem to chase him wherever he goes, dating back to his 1994 arrest for the deaths of his estranged wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles.

Simpson was acquitted of the murder charges in 1995, his trial spawning endless public debate over whether he got away with murder.

In 1997, a civil jury ruled in a wrongful death suit that Simpson was responsible for the deaths and awarded the Goldman family $33.5 million in damages, but little of the award was ever collected.

Simpson didn’t help quash the speculation, authoring a controversial book in 2007 called “If I Did It.” The proceeds from that book, however, were required to go to the victims’ families, who had won a multi-million-dollar civil suit against Simpson.

The parole board in Nevada was not allowed to consider the events of 1994 in their deliberations and instead considered the facts around the case in Nevada in 2007, when Simpson was accused of leading a group of men into a Las Vegas hotel and casino to steal sports memorabilia at gunpoint.

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