If O.J. Simpson is granted parole, his pension from the NFL could be upward of $25,00 a month.
by Brad Tuttle
O.J. Simpson goes before a parole board in Nevada on Thursday to see if he’ll be released from prison.
But what will Simpson’s life be like if he gets out of jail, which could be as soon as Oct. 1 if the parole board agrees to release him? Simpson still owes tens of millions of dollars in the wake of a 1997 civil lawsuit, in which he was found liable for the wrongful deaths of his wife Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages to the survivors’ families.
Even so, Simpson will probably be quite comfortable financially if and when he is released from jail, thanks to pensions that may pay out more than $25,000 per month — funds that aren’t subject to seizure by creditors.
The former football star, who was tried and acquitted in 1995 for the murder of Brown and Goldman, is currently incarcerated because he was found guilty in 2008 of armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges in Las Vegas. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison, with a nine-year minimum. He has already served more than eight years, and in the extremely unlikely scenario that he is never paroled, he would be released in 2041.
It is unclear what Simpson’s net worth is right now — with some outlets like GoBankingRates.com saying he has roughly $250,000 in the bank while others have much higher estimates including CelebrityNetWorth.com, which reported that he’s worth $3 million.
Either way, it’s a steep drop from Simpson’s heyday. In 1992, when Simpson was in divorce proceedings with Brown, his net worth was an estimated $10.8 million, the equivalent of $18 million in today’s dollars.
But regardless of how much he is worth at the moment, Simpson will reportedly receive significant income monthly once he is released thanks to his pensions.
Tom Scotto, a friend of Simpson’s, told USA Today that Simpson has invested $5 million in a private pension. Sports Illustrated reported in February that Simpson’s pension from the NFL could pay him as much as $25,000 per month. That adds up to $300,000 annually. “There is another pension as well that he gets from the Screen Actors Guild,” Carl Douglas, one of Simpson’s attorneys in the historic 1995 double-murder trial, told CBS News this week.
Legal analysts say that none of Simpson’s pension income can be taken away to pay off the civil ruling against him. “Pensions are bullet proof,” David Cook, an attorney who represents Ron Goldman’s father Fred, told Fox News. “Absent divine intervention, they are nearly impossible to topple. This is frustrating.”
In the late 1990s, Simpson also moved to Florida, where “under the state’s homestead exemption, forced sale of residences can be blocked,” Sports Illustrated explained. In other words, he could own a home and not be forced to sell it to pay damages resulting from the civil suit.
Scotto expects his friend Simpson will move back to Florida and buy a home, if his parole allows it. “He’ll be OK,” Scotto said to USA Today. “He’s not going to be poor. He’ll survive.”
The O.J. Simpson “Trial of the Century” has always been viewed along racial lines, and public opinion on Simpson’s guilt has evolved over the years. Polls cited by FiveThirtyEight show that nearly three-quarters of white people thought that Simpson was guilty of double murder at the time of the trial, compared to only 20% of black people. Two decades later, sentiment saying that Simpson was guilty had increased significantly no matter what one’s racial background: As of 2015, nearly 90% of white people and more than 59% of black people thought Simpson was guilty.
This story originally appeared on money.com.