Simpson, who has 950,000 followers on Twitter, advised his fans to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic last week in a video watched 230,000 times. He first rose to fame when his abilities as an American footballer were recognised in the Sixties and Seventies. After a brief career in acting, he experienced an increased wave of interest when he was arrested in relation to the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman.
His 1995 trial was dubbed the ‘trial of the century’, because his status as an athlete made the double murder case incredibly high-profile.
The jury found Simpson not guilty of the fatal stabbings, although the case is still a source of public interest.
However, the National Football League (NFL) legend was charged in 2008 for kidnapping and robbing a sports memorabilia dealer in a hotel at gunpoint.
Simpson was slapped with a 33-year sentence, but was released on parole for good behaviour in 2017 after nine years. He has since declared his determination to “get even”.
The 2017 BBC documentary, ‘OJ: Made in America’ reveals how Ron Shipp, a former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer and close confidant of Simpson and his wife Nicole, came to believe his friend was guilty and testified against him.
Upon hearing of Ms Brown’s death, Mr Shipp immediately went to visit Simpson and soon became suspicious when his friend appeared to tell three different explanations for an injury.
Feeling uncomfortable, Mr Shipp attempted to leave, but Simpson stopped him from leaving the house and asked him just to “hold on” for a moment.
Reportedly, Simpson said: “[The police] asked me to take a lie detector test. I told them no.”
Mr Shipp replied: “What do you mean, you told them no?”
He went on to alleged that Simpson said: “Well, to be truthful Shipp, I have had dreams of killing her.”
Mr Shipp said then he “wanted to leave”, and for a time, decided he wanted nothing to do with the case.
However, Mr Shipp had been a close friend to the late Ms Brown too.
She had repeatedly told the police officer that Simpson had been acting strangely towards her and she was afraid he was going to kill her before her death.
Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2016, Mr Shipp recalled his first reaction upon hearing about Ms Brown’s murder. He gave his opinion: “Everything that I knew she said all popped in my brain.
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“Being a cop, I said to myself, man, he killed her.”
Mr Shipp went with several other friends to visit Simpson in jail on one occasion.
He told Vanity Fair: “I shouldn’t laugh, but I remember sitting there, and at this time, I knew he did it.
“I remember someone saying, ‘OJ, they’re going to find out who did this and you’ll be out of here’, and OJ saying to all of us, ‘I can’t wait’.”
It was not until Simpson’s defence team tried to encourage Mr Shipp to make a statement in favour of the athlete’s innocence that the police officer voiced his concerns.
Retelling his encounter with the famous ‘Dream Team’, Mr Shipp claimed he had said: “I’m not part of your team.
“I think absolutely, positively, OJ Simpson killed those two people. I don’t want you to call me. I’m done.”
He added that he “wanted absolutely nothing to do with the whole thing” – until he saw the homicide book full of the autopsy images.
Talking to Vanity Fair, he explained: “I loved Nicole and I looked at her like a little sister. It was horrific [seeing the autopsy pictures].”
That pushed him to testify against the sports star, when he would directly address Simpson on the stand and implore him to “tell the truth”.
While Simpson was not found guilty for the murders in a criminal court, he was found liable for the deaths of both Nicole and her friend Ron in a civil court case at a later date.
He was ordered to pay the victims’ families more than $33million (£26.4million).
The Goldman family have since claimed that they have only collected a small fraction of the amount he owes them.
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