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OJ Simpson was chilling with a beer on a couch before Easter, lawyer says. 2 weeks later he was dead


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LAS VEGAS (AP) — O.J. Simpson’s last robust discussion with his longtime lawyer was just before Easter, at the country club home Simpson leased southwest of the Las Vegas Strip.

“He was awake, alert and chilling,” attorney Malcom LaVergne recalled Tuesday. “He’s on the couch … drinking a beer and watching TV. And so that was the last time we had effective back-and-forth conversations. He’s usually the one who keeps me up on the news … so we were just catching up on the news then.”

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About a week later, on April 5, a doctor said Simpson was “transitioning,” as LaVergne described it. The last time LaVergne visited, last week, Simpson only had strength to ask for water and to choose to watch a TV golf tournament instead of a tennis match.

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“Of course he chose golf,” LaVergne told The Associated Press in an interview. “He was an absolute golf fanatic.”

Simpson died April 10, after being diagnosed last year with prostate cancer. He was 76.

A post the following day from Simpson’s family on X, formerly Twitter, said Simpson “succumbed to his battle with cancer” while “surrounded by his children and grandchildren.” However, LaVergne said Tuesday just one person was with Simpson when he died, identified by the attorney only as “a close family member.” He declined to say who it was.

“You have to remember that they’ve shared O.J. with the world their entire lives,” the attorney said of Simpson’s surviving adult children of his first marriage — Arnelle Simpson, now 55, and Jason Simpson, 53 — and the children Simpson had with ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson before she was killed in 1994: Sydney Simpson, 38, and Justin Simpson, 35. The family social media post asked “during this time of transition” for “privacy and grace.”

“At first they shared good O.J. But still he was famous,” LaVergne said. “And then, in 1994 on, they kind of had to share bad boy O.J. with the world. But at the end of the day, these children just lost a father. And they have the added burden that he is one of the most famous people on the planet, and who is polarizing and who is surrounded by controversy.”

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LaVergne, who is handling Simpson’s estate, shared details of his final meetings with the former football hero, movie actor, sportscaster, television pitchman and celebrity murder defendant who he has represented since 2009.

He deflected a question about any possible deathbed confession by Simpson as an attempt to steer “from somber to the sensationalism and the amusement.” He said Simpson’s body won’t be studied for the effects of chronic brain trauma from possible effects of blows to the head during his 11 years as a running back in the NFL.

“Mr. Simpson, to my understanding, had expressed his wishes to his children,” LaVergne said. “And so they are going to act upon those wishes.”

Simpson wanted to be cremated, the attorney said, and — pending a decision from his family — there was no immediate plan for a public memorial.

“There’s only been tentative discussions of a celebration of life (or) ceremony,” LaVergne said.

The attorney filed Simpson’s last will and testament in Nevada state court two days after his death, naming Simpson’s four children as the only beneficiaries of his estate. He said details of a family trust are yet to be filed.

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The attorney would not put a value on the estate, but said Simpson did not own a home in states where he had lived — including Nevada, California and Florida. He said accounts were still being tallied.

Simpson famously was acquitted of criminal charges alleging he stabbed his ex-wife and her friend, Ronald Goldman, to death in 1994 in Los Angeles. Those proceedings in California in 1996 became known as the “trial of the century.” Simpson was found liable for the deaths in 1997 by a California civil court jury.

In Las Vegas, Simpson went to prison in 2008 for nine years after being found guilty of armed robbery in a 2007 encounter at a casino-hotel with two collectibles dealers.

He lived a golf-and-country club lifestyle since his release from prison in October 2017, sometimes offering social media posts about sports and golf. His last message was Feb. 11: wearing a San Francisco 49ers jersey and predicting his old team would defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII. The Chiefs won.

LaVergne acknowledged that Simpson died without paying the families of Simpson’s slain ex-wife and Goldman the bulk of a $33.5 million judgment they were awarded in the 1997 civil liability case.

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Attorney David Cook, representing the Goldman family, said Tuesday that he thought the judgment owed today, including unpaid interest, is more than $114 million.

LaVergne said last week the Goldmans wouldn’t get a penny of Simpson’s assets, and then backtracked. He said Tuesday he believed the amount owed was more than $200 million. He said Simpson’s assets won’t amount to that.

“They’re going to be invited to view my homework,” he said of the Goldman and Brown families. “I want to show them what I have with the caveat that if they believe something else is out there … they’re going to have to use their own attorneys, their own resources, to try and chase down that pot of gold.”

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Associated Press writer Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, N.M., contributed to this report.

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