Friend of OJ Simpson says he is a "gentle, sweetheart person"

Tom Scotto was in court when a parole board ruled he can be released

Friend of OJ Simpson says he is a "gentle, sweetheart person"

Former NFL football star OJ Simpson laughs as he appears via video for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center | Image: Jason Bean/AP/Press Association Images

A friend of OJ Simpson says he has never questioned his innocence.

Tom Scotto was in court on Thursday when a parole board ruled the former sports star can be released early.

Mr Simpson served nine years of a sentence for armed robbery and other charges.

While he could have served a maximum sentence of 33 years, he could now be released as early as October 1st of this year.

At the parole hearing, Mr Simpson said he had "done his time".

He argued: "I've done it as well and as respectfully as I think anybody can.

"I think if you talk to the wardens, they'll tell you I gave them my word... I believe in the jury system... I've not complained for nine years."

He also insisted he was sorry that "things turned out the way they did".

He was famously acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in the 1990s.

 In this file photo, OJ Simpson's friend Tom Scotto appears at an evidentiary hearing for Simpson in Las Vegas | Image: Ethan Miller/AP/Press Association Images

Speaking to Moncrieff here on Newstalk, Mr Scotto says his friend is a good person.

"He accepted his sentence, he accepted where he is, he had to make his life in there - and he never complained about anything.

"He just worries about everybody else - family, kids, me - he just worries about everybody else but himself.

"He is a unbelievable strong, honourable person."

Mr Simpson lost a civil case over the Brown-Goldman deaths in 1997.

He was ordered to pay US$25m (€21.4m) in punitive damages to the families.

But Mr Scotto says that is irrelevant: "A civil case is a different animal, it's a total different burden of proof.

"They won a civil case... he was found innocent in a higher court.

"The civil case doesn't really matter because it's such a low standard - it's irrelevant".

"He's been my best friend, I never have any doubts of what he does.

"I know the man, I know he's incapable of doing anything like that.

"He's a kind, generous, giving, gentle, sweetheart person.

"Nobody knows OJ Simpson like I know OJ Simpson.

"I feel bad that two people were lost and I give my condolences to them and I feel very sorry for them.

"But to say 'OJ's a murderer' - he was found innocent in court".