Tuesday, July 17, 2018
News Roundup

OJ Simpson's lawyer blasts Bondi as 'stupid,' says Simpson definitely coming to Florida

OJ Simpson's lawyer Malcolm Lavergne is outraged with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, blasting her as "possibly the stupidest person on the planet."

Bondi's office released a letter Friday urging the Florida Department of Corrections to deny Simpson a transfer to serve parole in Florida now that he has been released from prison on kidnapping and armed robbery charges. She called Simpson a "scofflaw" whose notoriety would be a drain on law enforcement.

"What a complete stupid b----. F--- her," Lavergne said in an incensed interview with the Tampa Bay Times on Monday. "She has zero standing to even talk about Mr. Simpson's case. She's the attorney general, she has nothing to do with it. It's virtually a foregone conclusion that Simpson will be moving to Florida when he chooses and once Nevada approves it. That's handled by the Nevada Division of Parole and Florida department of corrections, not the attorney general."

BONDI: Florida doesn't want OJ Simpson

Lavergne said Simpson plans to live in a private location in Nevada for probably the next few months before requesting transfer to Florida.

He said he had discussed Bondi's letter with Simpson by phone just a few minutes before the Times contacted him.

"He's very, very, disturbed by it," Lavergne said. "To him as a 70-year-old black male in America, he lived through a time when white people did get to tell black people where they could live. It reminds (Simpson) of when he first moved to lily-white Bel Air, and the people there tried to keep him out and make his life miserable."

Lavergne argued Simpson has a right to move to Florida under the rules of the Interstate Compact, which says states must automatically accept transfers if certain criteria are met, such as the offender being a resident of the receiving state, having family in that state and having means to support themselves.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Simpson's kids put down roots in St. Petersburg

Lavergne noted that Simpson's grown children live in Tampa Bay and that Simpson was a Florida resident at the time of his Nevada arrest.

Lavergne said Bondi was "obviously trying to gain political favor" by weighing in, despite her not controlling the Florida Department of Corrections. Bondi's office denied that accusation.

"This is about a career prosecutor who has handled parole hearings in Florida for 20 years and a violent criminal trying to move to our state," Bondi spokeswoman Whitney Ray said via email. "As chief legal officer it is the Attorney General's duty to protect the citizens of Florida ... The Attorney General remains in constant contact with FDC regarding the matter. "

Lavergne called it "unprecedented" for an attorney general to single out an offender seeking transfer.

"He has zero circumstances that would prevent his transfer. Florida has a million felons running around. Is he the only parolee in Florida?" Lavergne said. "He has good reason to come there. It's not like he's going to Iowa or some state where he has no connection."

John M. Stokes, a criminal defense lawyer in Florida who is not involved in the case, said parolee transfers are routine business and almost always get approved unless the offender has an extensive criminal record, or their crime involved extreme violence.

"I hate to use the term rubber stamp, but this is typically not a big deal," Stokes said.

In the letter addressed to Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie L. Jones, Bondi wrote, "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," referring to the deaths of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman in 1994. Simpson, a former NFL star and actor, was acquitted of the murders, but was later found liable in a civil suit. "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."

Bondi did acknowledge Sunday that Florida may have no choice but to accept Simpson. She says authorities would carefully vet the request and his prison records. Corrections officials would have 45 days, though Bondi said a decision likely would come much sooner.

Bondi says potential sticking points include whether Simpson completed required alcohol counseling.

In her letter, Bondi said that if Simpson does come to Florida he should be forced to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his wherabouts, even though that was not among the conditions of his parole decided on by Nevada.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

 
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