O.J. Simpson's highly anticipated parole hearing to shorten his nine-to-33-year sentence for an armed robbery and kidnapping attempt in a 2007 Las Vegas hotel room took place on Thursday. Bruce Fromong, Simpson's friend and the only surviving victim of the robbery, testified during the hearing, vouching for Simpson's character and their friendship. "If he called me tomorrow and said, 'Will you pick me up?' Juice, I'll be here tomorrow," Fromong told Simpson, who started to cry.
Fromong told CNN that he and Simpson became close friends in the early 1990s and worked on memorabilia deals together. He had already acknowledged prior to Thursday's hearing that he didn't believe Simpson's crime deserved such a long sentence.
At his 2008 trial, Simpson testified that he and several others entered the Palace Station hotel in Las Vegas to take back "his stuff" from Fromong and the other victim, Alfred Beardsley, who died in 2015. During his testimony in 2008, Fromong told Clark County District Attorney David Roger that he had never stolen anything from the former football Hall of Famer.
During the parole hearing, and despite their shaky history, Fromong pleaded for his friend's release. "This is a good man, he made a mistake," Fromong said, adding, "We all make mistakes. O.J. made his."
"We all make mistakes. O.J. made his. He’s been here, and from what i’m told, he’s been a model inmate," Bruce Fromong says pic.twitter.com/WSsqWNrtK9— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 20, 2017
Fromong also stated that Simpson never held a gun at him during the 2007 incident, and referred to the former football player's character that day as "misguided."
In a statement to the parole board, Simpson said he had also apologized to Fromong and Beardsley and never wished either of them any harm.
It seems like Fromong's plea for Simpson's release paid off: O.J. Simpson was granted parole following more than an hour of testimony from Simpson, his oldest daughter, Arnelle Simpson, and Frumong. While Simpson won't be released immediately, with his parole contingent on approval from the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation, he could potentially be released as early as Oct. 1 if everything goes smoothly.
O.J. Simpson has been granted parole. He'll be released from prison on October 1, 2017. And he will be subject to the many rules of parole.— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) July 20, 2017
In 2008, Simpson was convicted on all 12 charges related to the 2007 robbery, with Fromong's testimony leading to his conviction. The football player is famously known for being acquitted in 1995 in the killing of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.
He was found liable of wrongful death in a civil trial in 1997 and ordered to pay $33.5 million to the victims' families.
"I feel like it's time to give him a second chance," Fromong said during Thursday's parole hearing. "It's time for him to go home to his family, his friends."