O.J. Simpson will make his case for freedom on Thursday — and many experts believe he has a good shot at winning it.
Simpson's fate rests in the hands of four members of the Nevada Board of Parole, who will hold a hearing starting at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) in Carson City. Simpson will appear via video conference from two hours away at Lovelock Correctional Center, the isolated medium-security facility northeast of Reno that he has called home for nearly nine years, to answer commissioners' questions.
The hearing, which is expected to last about 10 or 15 minutes, will be livestreamed on NBCNews.com.
Simpson is approaching the minimum time served of his 33-year sentence after he was convicted in 2008 of kidnapping, armed robbery and 10 other charges related to a botched sports memorabilia heist in a Las Vegas hotel room.
One of his robbery victims, Bruce Fromong, is expected to speak at the hearing. Fromong has told The Associated Press that he forgives Simpson for the incident.
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Simpson has spent his time behind bars mopping the prison gym floor and serving as a sports coach to other inmates. Legal experts believe his good behavior in prison will help him gain parole.
"I don't see any reason why he wouldn't, based on his being a model prisoner and the actions that he's taken over the years to better himself," Al Lasso, a Las Vegas trial lawyer who has observed the case, told NBC News.
Simpson's infamous past should not play a role in his parole case, Lasso added.
"It's going to be hard to leave out the murder situation from the parole board's minds, but in the end, they have to go by a regulated system, a point system. And if you add up the points, he's more than eligible for parole," Lasso said.
Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School in Los Angeles professor and longtime Simpson case commentator, agreed parole was likely.
"There are no certainties because it is O.J., and we've learned to expect the unexpected, but just on his classification and his risk factors, he is a good candidate," she told NBC News.
Despite the media frenzy around Simpson's case, former chairs of the state parole board have said the hearing is likely to be fairly routine. To commissioners, Simpson is simply Inmate #1027820.
"That's really the beauty of the system: It's the same for everyone," Dorla Salling, who was chairwoman of the parole board from 2000 to 2009, told NBC News. "It doesn't matter what your name is."
The only unusual aspect to Simpson's hearing will be the timing. Typically the parole board takes up to three weeks to make a decision, but because interest in this case is so high, a same-day decision is likely, the parole board said.
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Simpson, 70, is no stranger to being the center of attention: About 150 million people tuned in to hear the verdict in the "Trial of the Century" in 1995, when he was acquitted in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. He was found liable for the double homicide in a 1997 civil case and owes a $33 million civil judgment, which he will still face should he be released from prison.
The parole board will base its decision on a number of factors, such as history of drug and alcohol abuse and disciplinary conduct over the past year.
If his past is any indication, Simpson is a viable parole candidate. In 2013, he was deemed a low risk and was granted parole on some of his charges. It was during that hearing that he told commissioners that he coached sports teams in prison and umpired games.
"I advise a lot of guys, and I'd like to feel that I've kept a lot of trouble from happening since I've been here by getting involved in some conflicts that some of the individuals have had," he said then.
If he wins parole, Simpson could be free as early as Oct. 1. If he is not granted parole, he could be kept behind bars until 2022.
F. Lee Bailey, one of Simpson's defense attorneys during his murder trial, told NBC News that he was hopeful that his former client would go free.
"I'm very sympathetic to him being released at the first possible moment," said Bailey, 84.