O.J. Simpson spoke before the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners on Thursday, in a bid to win leniency after he was convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges for his role in a Sept. 2007 robbery at the Palace Station hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Simpson was sentenced to up to 33 years in prison in 2008 and has spent the past five years behind bars.
According to Fox News, the 66-year-old disgraced former NFL star spoke via closed-circuit TV from a video conference room at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev. He told the parole board he regretted his actions and that he had been on his best behavior since landing in prison. “When I arrived here about five years ago and I was told what was expected of me, I gave them my word that I'd be the best prisoner they've ever had,” he said. “I think for the most part I've kept my word on that.”
Simpson said that he had spoken to many prisoners about their crimes and argued that his was of a different nature from the rest. "The difference between all of their crimes and mine is that they were trying to steal other people's property, they were trying to steal other people's money," Simpson argued. "My crime was trying to retrieve, for my family, my own property."
Simpson was found guilty on Oct. 3, 2008 -- 13 years to the day after he was after acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman – for breaking into a hotel room and stealing (at gunpoint) sports memorabilia the former Buffalo Bill claimed was actually his.
"My intent was not to rob from anybody," Simpson said. "I knew both of these guys who had my stuff. I was a little upset with them, and I think I wasn't as civil as I should have been."
"Make no mistake I would give it all back to these guys,” he added. “They can have it all to get these five years of my life back."
Simpson told the parole board he has missed out on important life events since being in prison. "I missed my two younger kids who worked hard getting through high school, I missed their college graduations," Simpson said. "I missed my sister's funeral. I missed all the birthdays."
The parole board did not immediately issue a ruling. Four of the seven commissioners on the board must support his request in order for Simpson to receive leniency. As the Associated Press points out, even if the board rules in his favor, Simpson will still have to serve at least another four years behind bars for other sentences. "It doesn't open the cell door," prosecutor H. Leon Simon said. "He'd just start serving the consecutive sentences."
According to the Associated Press, the only chance Simpson stands of gaining his freedom comes from a pending court decision on whether or not Simpson’s lawyer in his robbery case had a conflict of interest and provided him with inadequate counsel. If the decision lands in his favor, Simpson would be entitled to a new trial.