O.J. Simpson Freed From Prison

(CBS NEWS)– A Nevada prison official said O.J. Simpson, the former football legend and celebrity, has been released from a Nevada prison in Lovelock after serving nine years for armed robbery and kidnapping.

Nevada state prisons spokeswoman Brooke Keast said Simpson was released at 12:08 a.m. PDT from Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada. She said she did not know where he would go.

Keast said the dead-of-night release from the prison located about 90 miles east of Reno, Nevada, was conducted to avoid media attention.

“We needed to do this to ensure public safety and to avoid any possible incident,” she added, speaking by telephone.

Simpson had been sentenced to up to 33 years, but won parole in July due to good behavior and other credits earned in custody. Unlike when he walked free after his murder trial in 1995, however, Simpson faces parole supervision for another five years.

Keast said the dead-of-night release from the prison located about 90 miles east of Reno, Nevada, was conducted to avoid media attention.

“We needed to do this to ensure public safety and to avoid any possible incident,” she added, speaking by telephone.

Simpson had been sentenced to up to 33 years, but won parole in July due to good behavior and other credits earned in custody. Unlike when he walked free after his murder trial in 1995, however, Simpson faces parole supervision for another five years.

Neither Simpson’s attorney, Malcolm LaVergne in Las Vegas, nor state Parole and Probation Capt. Shawn Arruti, who has been handling Simpson’s case, immediately responded to messages.

The 70-year-old Simpson has said he’d like to return to Florida, but that state’s attorney general is trying to block the move, CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas reports.

“Floridians are well aware of Mr. Simpson’s background, his wanton disregard for the lives of others, and of his scofflaw attitude with respect to the heinous acts for which he has been found civilly liable,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a letter sent Friday to Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie L. Jones. “The specter of his residing in comfort in Florida should not be an option. Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal.”

The Florida Department of Corrections said officials had not received a transfer request or required documents.

Simpson was sent to prison in Nevada for a botched hotel-room heist of sports memorabilia 12 years after he was acquitted of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles.

Although Simpson apologized for the attempted robbery, he did defend his actions.

“It was my property I wasn’t there to steal from anybody and I would never ever pull a weapon on anybody,” he said at his parole hearing. “I’ve basically spent a conflict-free life.”

Simpson is looking forward to reuniting with his family, eating a steak and some seafood, and moving back to Florida, his lawyer said recently. Simpson also plans to get an iPhone and get reacquainted with technology that was in its infancy when he was sent to prison in 2008.

Close friend Tom Scotto, who lives in Naples, Florida, has offered to have Simpson live at his house, but he has not responded to messages from The Associated Press in recent days about whether a plan was finalized. Simpson lost his home near Miami to foreclosure in 2012.

Two of Simpson’s children, Justin and Sydney, also live in Florida. He could live at least temporarily in Las Vegas, where a friend let Simpson use his home for five weeks during his robbery trial. His five years of parole supervision could be reduced with credits for good behavior.

It’s a new chapter for the one-time pop culture phenomenon whose fame was once again on display when the major TV networks carried his July parole hearing live.

Orenthal James Simpson was once an electrifying running back dubbed “Juice” who won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best college football player for the University of Southern California in 1968 and became one of the NFL’s all-time greats with the Buffalo Bills.

Handsome and charming, he also provided commentary on “Monday Night Football,” became the face of Hertz rental-car commercials, and built a movie career with roles in the “Naked Gun” comedies and other films.

Simpson fell from grace when he was arrested in the Brown Simpson and Goldman slayings, coming after the famous Ford Bronco chase on California freeways. His subsequent trial became a live-TV sensation that fascinated viewers with its testimony about a bloody glove that didn’t fit and unleashed furious debate over race, police and celebrity justice.

A jury swiftly acquitted him, but two years later, Simpson was found liable in civil court for the killings and ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors, including his children and Goldman’s family.

He is still on the hook for the judgment, which now amounts to about $65 million, according to a Goldman family lawyer.

On Sept. 16, 2007, he led five men he barely knew to the Palace Station casino in Las Vegas in an effort to retrieve items that Simpson insisted were stolen after his acquittal in the 1994 slayings. Two of the men with Simpson in Las Vegas carried handguns, although Simpson still insists he never knew anyone was armed. He said he only wanted to retrieve personal items, mementos and family photos.

Simpson went to prison in 2008, receiving a stiff sentence that his lawyers said was unfair.

If the nation’s Simpson obsession waned for a while, it surged last year with the Emmy-winning FX miniseries, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” and the Oscar-winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America.”