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Thu, 12 Jun 2014 12:03:21 +0000
(NEW YORK) -- Two decades after O.J. Simpson was famously acquitted of murder, the former football star remains behind bars for a different crime, bulking up on processed foods and making friends with fellow inmates.
"He's got a 4-by-6 cell, he's got a television," Norman Pardo, Simpson's friend and former manager, told ABC News. "Everyone in there treats him pretty nice."
Simpson shocked the nation when he walked out of Los Angeles court a free man in 1995 after his defense team proved there wasn't enough evidence he killed his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and another man, Ronald Goldman.
This week marks the 20th anniversary of their deaths -- and the beginning of a captivating case that kept Americans glued to their TVs for months.
Simpson, 66, spends his days at the Lovelock Correctional Center near Reno, Nevada, after a kidnapping and armed robbery conviction in 2008.
"He's a prisoner in prison -- there's nothing really exciting about it, to be honest," said Pardo, who talks to Simpson by phone every couple of months. "It's sort of depressing."
But Simpson has made the best of it, Pardo said.
"O.J. always gets along with everybody, people like him," he said. "He's a nice guy. And he helps people in there -- they get depressed, he tries to talk to them."
Pardo shot down rumors that Simpson was fighting with other inmates or going on hunger strikes. He did confirm that Simpson, who appeared in court last year with a fuller figure than he had in his NFL days, had put on some pounds.
"He needs to lose a little weight. Wouldn't hurt if he starved himself for 10 pounds -- maybe 20!" Pardo joked.
"He eats a lot of pork and beans but the main thing is that there's not that much fruit," Pardo said. "He doesn't get a lot of fruit and he's from Florida...and sometimes he'll gain weight to bulk up, but he's been depressed lately so he hasn't been doing too much of that."
The former football great has been fighting for a new trial of the armed robbery and kidnapping case that landed him in prison years after he famously escaped a conviction. He’s serving up to 33 years for leading a group of men who attacked two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint at a Las Vegas hotel in 2007. Simpson maintains he was only trying to retrieve personal items he believes were his and stolen.
Simpson, who is eligible for parole in 2017, filed a new appeal just last week.
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