Over the years, OJ Simpson has gained fame and notoriety for a variety of reasons. He was born in San Francisco, California on July 9, 1947. His early years of playing school football led to his receiving a full athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California in 1967. Simpson's amazing ability and record setting achievements on the field brought him a lot of attention, and by 1969 he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills. After several remarkable seasons, Simpson was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 1978, where he spent two years before retiring. During his time in the NFL Simpson won several awards including Most Valuable Player for 1973 and Associated Press Athlete of the Year in 1973. He became eligible for the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1985, and was inducted that very year.
The end of his football career did not mean the end of OJ Simpson's fame. Even before he retired as an athlete, Simpson had begun to work as an actor and had parts in several television shows and films. After leaving the 49ers, he got more involved in the world of acting and was featured in some major motion pictures. He also became the commercial spokesperson for a few well known products and provided commentary for NFL games. On top of that, he created Orenthal Productions to produce direct to TV films.
Although Simpson remained in the public eye over the years, it was in 1994 that he really took the spotlight again. It began with a now infamous incident in which he led several CHP officers in a low speed chase while driving a white Ford Bronco SUV down a southern California highway. This peaked an enormous amount of interest, and as more details became available the story only got juicier. The world watched as the drama behind the murder of Simpson's former wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman unfolded. Before long, Simpson was the primary suspect, and what would soon be referred to as the Trial Of The Century began.
The trial lasted an astonishing 134 days, and each day of it was televised. Simpson acquired a team of defense attorneys, most prominently featuring Johnnie Cochran and F. Lee Bailey. They set out to prove that there was enough reasonable doubt about who the real murderer was to demand that Simpson be set free, and that the Los Angeles Police Department (in particular Mark Fuhrman) did not conduct the investigation properly, planted evidence and were guilty of being racists. Their strategies worked - when the jury finally returned their verdict it said Not Guilty. OJ Simpson was a free man.
Eventually the general furor over the trial subsided, but nearly a decade later another incident brought the entire case back into view. Simpson wrote a book which he entitled "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer". The novel was said to have been a fictional account of how he would have committed the murders and gotten away with it - all the while still claiming to be innocent. The families of the victims were outraged, and Simpson's book was pulled before it ever reached stores. The family of Ronald Goldman was able to claim the rights, and they had the book published with the word "If" in small print to make it appear to be an actual confession. OJ Simpson was once again in the public eye.
In 2007, Simpson was found at the center of another major crime. He was accused of breaking into a hotel room with several associates and taking a variety of sports memorabilia. To make the situation worse, all of the alleged perpetrators were said to have been armed. Simpson claimed that no one had guns with them, and that he was simply taking back property that had been stolen from him previously. After being questioned about the incident, Simpson was let go, but within two days he was arrested and accused of various criminal activities including kidnapping, assault and robbery. He was about to be put back on trial.
Several of Simpson's associates made deals with law enforcement officials to testify against him in exchange for leniency. This time the testimony against him was too much, and on December 5, 2008 he was given a guilty verdict. The star once again found himself in a very public arena, but this time it was for the announcement that he would be sentenced to 33 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in 9 years.
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