In Bankruptcy Information, celebrity bankruptcies, consumer law

OJ Simpson, one of the best-known football stars and actors of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, was paroled from prison on Friday after nine years behind bars for theft. Simpson, known during his playing days as the Juice, was acquitted in 1995 in a celebrity trial of charges that he killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her then-boyfriend, Ron Goldman. Simpson led police on a low-speed chase in a white Bronco before surrendering. His “dream team” defense included F. Lee Bailey (now disbarred and working as a consultant), Johnnie Cochran, Robert Kardashian (father of the Kardashian clan) and Robert Shapiro. The trial lasted 11 months and spawned several famous lines, one being “if the glove doesn’t fit, you have to acquit,” referring to a bloody glove allegedly belonging to the murderer. Simpson tried it on to show that it was several sizes too small.

Following his acquittal, the family of Ron Goldman sue civilly for wrongful death. Because of the differing standards of proof in a civil trial versus a criminal trial, a verdict was entered against Simpson for $33,500,000. Various personal items, including his 1968 Heisman Trophy, were auctioned off.

Simpson eventually ended up in prison for a 2007 armed robbery in Las Vegas. It was for this crime that he recently gained parole.

The Goldman family’s judgment for $33,500,000 (less whatever they received from auction) and several million dollars in tax debt are still outstanding against OJ. However, it’s likely his creditors will see little to nothing even though Simpson is reported to receive anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000 per month. This is because the source of this income is various pensions and Social Security payments to which The Juice is entitled. He has an NFL players’ pension, a Screen Actors’ Guild pension from his days as an actor, and is entitled, like all Americans, to Social Security. All of these sources are exempt under federal and state law from the claims of creditors. Furthermore, anything he buys with this money, such as a house, car, furnishings, and the like, is also exempt as proceeds of exempt assets.

Those same exemptions apply to everyone. If you’re having financial hardship and your sole source of income is pension, retirement or Social Security, remember it’s exempt. Creditors cannot force you to make payments to them from this income and if they get a judgment against you they can’t garnish it.

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