O.J. Simpson freed on parole
Oct 1 (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson, acquitted of the 1994 murder of his ex-wife and her friend after the "Trial of the Century," was released early on Sunday from a prison in Nevada, where he had been held since 2008 for a botched armed robbery at a Las Vegas casino hotel.
The state's Department of Corrections posted a seven-second video on Facebook showing the retired American football star and former actor being released at 12:08 a.m. local time (0708 GMT).
The midnight timing was "to ensure public safety and reduce the potential for the incident," the department said in a brief statement that accompanied the video and a photo showing Simpson signing some papers.
Simpson's lawyer, Malcolm LaVergne, said by text message on Sunday morning: "All information related to Simpson's whereabouts is confidential until (Monday) at the earliest."
Simpson wore a blue baseball-style cap, blue denim pants and a jacket, and white sneakers as he walked through a door to freedom after prison guard said: "Here you go. Come on out."
Simpson, 70, was granted parole in July after nine years behind bars. At the parole board hearing, there was no mention of his 1990s trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a friend, Ron Goldman.
Simpson was found not guilty in 1995 following the sensational, 13-month trial in Los Angeles, which was televised live daily and transfixed much of the country.
A civil court jury subsequently found him liable for the deaths and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages to the victims' families, a judgment that remains largely unpaid.
Simpson's ultimate destination remains unclear. He told parole board members he hoped to move to Florida, where he has friends and family, a plan that must be approved by authorities there.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told Fox News on Sunday that Simpson was not welcome in the state. “He wants to come to the Florida and golf all over our state, and I don’t want that to happen,” Bondi said.
However, Bondi said on “Fox and Friends” that she might have no legal way to keep Simpson out of Florida.
Florida corrections officials say they had not received a parole transfer request for Simpson and had not been contacted by their counterparts in Nevada.
Born in San Francisco, Simpson played his final years as a pro football player for that city's National Football League team, the 49ers. He lived in Los Angeles at the time of the murders. But California corrections officials said he had not filed papers to live in that state either.
At his parole hearing, Simpson, known during his football career as the “Juice,” said he was ready to spend time with his children and friends outside the prison and could handle the public attention he would get.
Among the reasons, the commissioners gave for their decision were that Simpson had complied with prison rules during his incarceration, had no prior criminal convictions and posed a minimal safety risk to the public.
In 1968, Simpson won the Heisman Trophy, the award for the top college football player, while attending the University of Southern California. He played more than a decade in the NFL, most of that time for the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, New York. While with the Bills, he became the first player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, Chris Michaud in New York and Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Editing by Jane Merriman and Lisa Von Ahn)