Claiming O.J. Simpson was dealt an injustice, the brother of the football star’s former girlfriend is soliciting money to appeal Simpson’s conviction and prison sentence on kidnapping and armed robbery charges.
Barrett Prody, 35, has created a nonprofit corporation and an Internet Web site, the Society Against Legal Injustice Inc., to raise money for Simpson.
"I hope to help out someone who has gotten to be a good friend," Prody said by telephone from his home in Fargo, N.D. "I want to leverage his name in an effort to right an injustice out there in Las Vegas."
But Simpson lawyers Yale Galanter in Miami and Gabriel Grasso in Las Vegas said they don’t think the fund is needed. Galanter said Simpson’s trial fees and costs were fully paid and his appellate fees and costs were "basically paid." He declined to provide amounts, citing attorney-client confidentiality.
"It seems that Barrett has the best of intentions," Galanter said. "But whatever he’s doing is on a separate track with what we’re doing."
The lawyers said they expected to file an appeal in the next six weeks with the Nevada Supreme Court over Simpson’s conviction for the armed robbery and kidnapping of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel room.
Simpson’s daughter, Arnelle Simpson, and a Simpson friend, Tom Scotto, said they support Prody’s effort and that they expected any money Prody raises would help pay the 61-year-old former football star and television actor’s legal bills.
"It’s legit," Arnelle Simpson said. "It was established and created for my dad. Of course I approve of it and will support it."
Scotto said he also agreed to be a board member of the Society Against Legal Injustice.
Prody’s younger sister, Christine Prody, was Simpson’s girlfriend for more than a decade after the NFL Hall of Famer was acquitted in the 1994 slaying of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, in Los Angeles. But Christine Prody and Simpson are no longer a couple, Simpson’s daughter and friends said.
Simpson was found liable for the deaths in a Los Angeles civil lawsuit and was ordered to pay $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson estates.
Barrett Prody said his 33-year-old sister, who lives in Fergus Falls, Minn., had no connection with the Web fundraising effort.
Barrett Prody, who runs an automobile marketing company in North Dakota, said he talks several times a week by telephone with Simpson, who is serving nine to 33 years at Lovelock State Prison in northern Nevada after being convicted of leading five other men into a Las Vegas hotel room to retrieve what he said were personal items and family mementos from two sports collectibles dealers.
Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart were convicted on all 12 charges, and Stewart was sentenced to 7½ years to 27 years. The four other men who accompanied Simpson were sentenced to probation after they took plea deals and testified for the prosecution.
Prody’s Web site blames the hotel room confrontation on Thomas Riccio, the memorabilia dealer who arranged the meeting, and criticizes prosecutors and Judge Jackie Glass for their handling of the case.
Prody estimated he spent about $6,000 filing incorporation papers in North Dakota and applying to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status.
He said he did not intend to take a salary from donations, at least at the start, and intended to use any money not needed for Simpson’s case to fund other causes he deemed unjust. The Web site is http://societyagainstlegalinjustice.com.