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Associated Press

Indigenous Peoples Day? Italians say stick with Columbus

Is it time to say arrivederci to Christopher Columbus?

A movement to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day has gained momentum in some parts of the U.S., with Los Angeles in August becoming the biggest city yet to decide to stop honoring the Italian explorer and instead recognize victims of colonialism.

Austin, Texas, followed suit Thursday. It joined cities including San Francisco, Seattle and Denver, which had previously booted Columbus in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day.

But the gesture to recognize indigenous people rather than the man who opened the Americas to European domination also has prompted howls of outrage from some Italian-Americans, who say eliminating their festival of ethnic pride is culturally insensitive, too.

“We had a very difficult time in this country for well over a hundred years,” said Basil Russo, president of the Order Italian Sons and Daughters of America. “Columbus Day is a day that we’ve chosen to celebrate who we are. And we’re entitled to do that just as they are entitled to celebrate who they are.”

Participants in the 2015 Columbus Day Parade ride a float with a large bust of Christopher Columbus in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

It’s not about taking anything away from Italian-Americans, said Cliff Matias, cultural director of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council, which is hosting a Re-Thinking Columbus Day event Sunday and Monday in New York.

“The conversation is Columbus,” he said. “If they’re going to celebrate Columbus, we need to celebrate the fact that we survived Columbus.”

The debate over Columbus’ historical legacy is an old one, but it became emotionally charged after a similar debate in the South over monuments to Confederate generals flared into deadly violence in August at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In Akron, Ohio, a September vote over whether to dump Columbus opened a racial rift on the city council that was so heated conflict mediators were brought in to sooth tensions.

In New York, where 35,000 people are expected to march in Monday’s Columbus Day parade, vandals last month doused the hands of a Christopher Columbus statue in blood-red paint and scrawled the words “hate will not be tolerated.” Activists calling for the city to change the parade’s name also are expected to hold a demonstration.

Parade-goers wave Italian and American flags in front of a giant bust of Christopher Columbus in the 2006 Columbus Day Parade in New York. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, File)

On Sunday, three demonstrators briefly interrupted a wreath-laying ceremony at the Columbus statue in Columbus Circle. The protesters, two dressed in fake chains and one wearing a hooded white sheet, spoke out before being escorted away. Police said one person was arrested.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, appointed a committee to evaluate whether monuments to certain historical figures should be removed, prompting a backlash from fellow Italian-Americans who vowed to defend the Columbus statue, which has stood over Columbus Circle for more than a century.

Many Italians who migrated to the U.S. initially had a rough time. In 1891, 11 Italians were lynched in New Orleans by a mob that held them responsible for the death of a police official.

At the end of the 1800s, Italians began to link themselves more with Columbus. Italian-American businessman and newspaper owner Generoso Pope was among those who worked to get Columbus Day recognized as a federal holiday in 1937.

“It was one of the things that would allow them to become Americans symbolically,” said Fred Gardaphe, a professor of Italian-American studies at Queens College.

Indigenous Peoples Day began to gel as an idea before the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas.

South Dakota began celebrating Native American Day on the second Monday of October in 1990. Berkeley, California, got rid of Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992.

Many places that have adopted Indigenous Peoples Day since then, including Alaska, have sizable Native American populations.

A few cities have compromised. Salt Lake City officials declared they would keep Columbus Day but celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on the same day.

In Akron, a city with few Native Americans and a large Italian-American community, an attempt to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day on Sept. 11 split the all-Democrat city council along racial lines. Five black members voted to rename the holiday, and eight white members voted against it, following a debate that devolved into shouting.

“The first voyage of Columbus to the Americas initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It would lead to the kidnapping, deaths and slavery of tens of millions of African people,” said Councilman Russel Neal, who is black.

Traffic goes around New York’s Columbus Circle and its 70-foot-tall column topped by a statue of Christopher Columbus. (AP Photo/Cameron Bloch, File)

But Councilman Jeff Fusco, who is Italian-American, said, “It’s a celebration of Italian heritage. It’s very similar to other days throughout the year that we celebrate for many other cultures.”

States and municipalities aren’t legally bound to recognize federal holidays, though most do. Columbus Day is already one of the most inconsistently celebrated. Places that choose to replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day may give their own workers or schoolchildren a day off, teach in schools about Native Americans instead of Columbus, issue proclamations or mark it in other ways.

There is no question that Columbus’ arrival in the New World under the sponsorship of Spain was bad for the indigenous people of Hispaniola, the island he colonized that is now split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Many of the native people of the island were forced into servitude. Multitudes died of disease. Spain repopulated the workforce with African slaves.

Boys wave Italian flags while riding a float in the 2016 Columbus Day Parade in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Columbus is celebrated in Latin America, too. A massive monument to the explorer, the Columbus Lighthouse, opened in 1992 in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico commemorates Discovery Day on Nov. 19, marking the day Columbus landed there.

Ralph Arellanes, chairman of the activist group Hispano Round Table of New Mexico, said that as a Hispanic he supports Columbus Day.

“It was the marriage of two peoples creating a new people, in a new land,” he said.

Though Columbus “wasn’t a saint,” he said, he believes Anglo-Americans like President Andrew Jackson should be held more responsible than the Spanish for the hardships Native Americans faced.

Arellanes also said he doesn’t understand why Italians claim Columbus for themselves when Columbus was sailing for Spain.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Mystery: Where’s the sign that welcomes visitors to Key West

Officials in Key West have a mystery on their hands. They want to know who took the sign that welcomed visitors to “Paradise U.S.A.”

Residents say they last saw the “Welcome to Key West” sign on the ground after it was presumably knocked down by Hurricane Irma on Sept. 10. The sign at the island’s entrance off U.S. 1 features a painted sunset.

It was an $8,000 gift from the local Rotary Club, whose members just want the sign back, no questions asked.

Rotary member Nadene Grossman Orr tells the Miami Herald they’re “hopeful someone picked it up for safekeeping.”

For now, a hand-painted sign marks its spot at the busy intersection. “Welcome to Paradise,” it says.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Nursing home that had 12 people die lays off all workers

A Florida nursing home that had 12 patients die after Hurricane Irma has laid off 245 workers.

The Sun Sentinel reported the layoffs Friday for the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. The facility was evacuated last month, several days after the storm damaged the electric transformer that powered the facility’s air conditioning. State officials later suspended their license, and owners eventually closed the facility permanently.

The layoffs include 79 certified nursing assistants, 37 licensed practical nurses, 23 occupational or physical therapists, 18 registered nurses, 25 environmental or laundry workers, 10 administrative assistants, five doctors, and others who worked in activities, dietary aid, engineering and supplies.

‘Florida Project’ shines a bright light on hidden homeless

Sean Baker‘s “The Florida Project” takes place in a blindingly purple low-budget motel named the Magic Castle, just down Route 192 from Disney’s Magic Kingdom. For the children of single parents who live there, the Kissimmee, Fla., motel is a playground — even if they’re living in poverty.

The Florida Project,” which opens in theaters Friday, is an ebullient, candy-colored movie wrapped around the very real issue of hidden homelessness. Families nationwide are living below the poverty line and eking out an existence in cheap motels, but the problem is particularly acute — and ironic — in the shadows of Walt Disney World.

“When Chris Bergoc, my co-screenwriter brought it to my attention, I was like: ‘This is happening? There are literally kids who are homeless outside of what’s considered the most magical place on the earth for children?'” said Baker, the 46-year-old independent filmmaker.

Studies and investigative reports, including one in 2014 by The Associated Press, have found that an estimated 1,700 families are homeless in Florida’s Osceola County, with most living in the motels surrounding one of the country’s top tourist destinations. Efforts in recent years have been stepped up to get mentally ill homeless people off the streets around Orlando, yet the county still lacks shelters. Many simply find their low-paying service industry jobs don’t cover rent.

But if you’re expecting a stern lesson from “The Florida Project,” you’ll be surprised to find one of the most vibrant, spirited and heartbreaking films of the year. “The Florida Project” stars Willem Dafoe as the kindly father-figure manager Bobby, but its central characters are played by newcomers. The feisty, scamming Halley (Bria Vinaite) is the 23-year-old mother to Moonee (7-year-old Brooklynn Prince), a free-spirited troublemaker who, with her friends (including the 6-year-old Valeria Cotto), are a delightful menace to Bobby and the motel’s residents.

“We wanted it to be a throwback, in a way. What I mean by that is: Little Rascals 2017,” said Baker. “I wanted to do something very similar where it was presenting the kids as kids, first and foremost — and have the audience embrace them, love them, laugh at them. And then hopefully at the end, the audience is sitting during the credits, and the issues have had a light shined on them that will have them talking on their way home.”

In stories ranging from pornography actresses in the San Fernando Valley (“Starlet”) to undocumented immigrants in New York (“The Prince of Broadway”), Baker has made depicting the lives of those Hollywood often overlooks a specialty. His last movie, “Tangerine,” was a micro-budgeted breakthrough, winning a Spirit Award and earning the praise of Francis Ford Coppola. Baker shot the transgender prostitute tale on iPhones with a mix of professional and non-professional actors, including the celebrated leads Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez.

“When I made ‘Tangerine,’ I moved to Los Angeles and I thought that Los Angeles was shot out, meaning that there’s no other stories to tell,” said Baker. “Then I found there’s a whole other world south of Olympic that we haven’t even seen in film unless it was ‘Straight Outta Compton.’ You realize who’s telling these stories. They’re not thinking outside their box, and often their sugarcoated visions of who they are.”

“My films are a response to what I don’t see,” added Baker.

“The Florida Project,” the director says, was an effort to go further in packaging an issue film as an entertainment. The approach drew the interest of Dafoe, a veteran actor eager to appear as a “non-actor,” he says. Especially appealing was the opportunity to work among non-professional performers on location in Orlando.

“It was one of those experiences where you able to riff off what was there. You were able to deal with what’s in the room,” said Dafoe. “My dressing room was not a trailer. It was one of those rooms. Troy lived down the hall. Troy became my friend. Troy was a resident who lived there for many years. That adds a dimension. It makes you learn things and gives you an experience.”

Since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, “The Florida Project” — as well as Dafoe and Brooklynn’s performances — has been widely lauded as among the best of the year. No one has enjoyed the ride more than Brooklynn, a natural performer who has tweeted and Instagrammed her adventures. Making the movie, the Orlando native said, was like summer camp. She and her young co-star, Val, now consider themselves best friends.

“Me and my mom and dad went over this,” Brooklynn said of the film’s more adult nature. “They weren’t really sure about this movie. But I came to them and I said, ‘I want to bring awareness to these kids and show people the light — my light for Jesus.'”

The low-budget production was for both Brooklynn and Dafoe an eye-opening: an up-close view of the homelessness most never see.

“I learned things about a certain kind of poverty, a certain kind of cycle of homelessness and hopelessness,” said Dafoe. “It’s a rich movie. It’s a poor little rich movie.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

 

Last shelter used for Hurricane Irma evacuees closes

The last shelter used for Hurricane Irma evacuees has closed in Miami-Dade County.

Ronald Book, who oversees the county’s homeless agency, says the final resident of the shelter set up inside the shelter was placed in a long-term apartment on Wednesday.

Book tells the Miami Herald the woman was homeless before the hurricane, which complicated her exit from the shelter.

The Youth Fair complex at Tamiami Park sheltered more than 2,000 from Hurricane Irma, which hit the area on Sept. 10. It was initially the only place people could seek refuge with their pets.

As Irma approached Florida, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued evacuation orders covering 600,000 residents. The county opened 43 shelters capable of housing about 100,000 people. Some 32,000 people ended up taking shelter in county facilities.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Louisiana helping Florida process Irma unemployment claims

Louisiana is helping Florida process its thousands of unemployment claims related to Hurricane Irma.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission, the state’s labor department, said Thursday that it reached out to Florida to offer assistance.

Louisiana had to cope with an influx of disaster unemployment claims after Louisiana’s flooding last year and after hurricanes in previous years.

Agency Secretary Ava Dejoie said in a statement: “Colleagues from around the country have come to Louisiana’s aid during numerous disasters. We are simply doing what we can.”

The workforce commission says it is prepared to help Florida process the unemployment claims for at least 30 days.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Hurricane Irma causes $2.5B in damage to Florida crops

State officials say Hurricane Irma caused more than $2.5 billion in damage to Florida’s agricultural community.

Irma dealt Florida’s iconic orange crop the most devastating blow causing more than $760 million in damage. Beef cattle and dairy were next with $237 million and nearly $12 million respectively.

The preliminary assessment was released Wednesday by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

The powerful hurricane damaged nearly all the citrus fruit in some Southwest Florida groves and seriously damaging groves in Central Florida. Growers talked of trees standing in 3 feet (.9 meters) of water, which is a death sentence for a crop already under a decade-long siege by citrus greening disease. Much of the fruit was young, and it’s too late in the season for a new crop.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Donald Trump in Puerto Rico, lauds administration’s relief effort

On the ground in Puerto Rico nearly two weeks after a hurricane ravaged the island, President Donald Trump heaped praise Tuesday on his administration’s relief workers and, more selectively, Puerto Rican officials after earlier dismissing critics of the federal response as “politically motivated ingrates.”

Trump told officials and relief workers assembled in an airplane hangar that the low death toll from Hurricane Maria — he was told 16 or 17 — was a tribute to the relief efforts. “We’ve saved a lot of lives,” he said, and singled out Gov. Ricardo Rossello for “giving us the highest praise.”

The help didn’t come cheap, he said: “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack.”

“But that’s fine,” he said, “because we’ve saved a lot of lives.”

The most prominent critic, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, attended the first event, in an airport hangar, shaking Trump’s hand as he went around a table greeting officials before sitting in in the shadow of a hulking, gray military plane.

“How are you?” he asked. Her response could not be heard. He thanked her. Days earlier, Cruz said the Trump administration was “killing us with the inefficiency,” pleading for more effective federal leadership in the crisis.

Air Force One brought the president, first lady Melania Trump and aides to Puerto Rico in the late morning. They were expected to spend more than five hours on the ground, meeting first responders, local officials and some of the 3.4 million people whose lives have been upended by a hurricane that, in the president’s words, left the island U.S. territory “flattened.”

The plane descended over a landscape marked by mangled palm trees, metal debris strewn near homes and patches of stripped trees, yet with less devastation evident than farther from San Juan.

At least in his first moments on the island, Trump remained focused primarily on the reviews his administration is getting. “He didn’t play politics at all,” he said of the governor, making clear that he considers those who have criticized him to be politically driven. Trump misstated Maria as a Category 5 hurricane; it was Category 4 when it hit Puerto Rico.

“I appreciate your support and I know you appreciate ours,” he said. “Our country has really gone all out. It’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive. But I consider it a great honor.”

Before leaving Washington, he said Puerto Ricans who have called the federal response insufficient “have to give us more help.”

Large-scale protests against Trump, talked about in advance, failed to materialize by early afternoon, with only a few handfuls of people gathering around San Juan to decry his criticism of local politicians.

As he headed out from the White House to visit the island, Trump told reporters that “it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done.”

The trip is Trump’s fourth areas battered by storms during an unusually violent hurricane season that has also seen parts of Texas, Florida, Louisiana and the U.S. Virgin Islands inundated by floodwaters and hit by high winds.

Nearly two weeks after the Puerto Rico storm, 95 percent of electricity customers remain without power, including some hospitals. And much of the countryside is still struggling to access such basic necessities as food, fresh water and cash.

Trump’s visit follows a weekend in which he aggressively pushed back against critics, including Cruz. Trump responded angrily on Twitter, deriding the “poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” he added, scoffing at “politically motivated ingrates” who had criticized the federal work, and insisting that “tremendous progress” was being made.

Cruz had begged the administration to “make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives.”

Trump and his wife were to meet Navy and Marine Corps personnel on the flight deck of the USS Kearsarge as well as the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Even before the storm hit on Sept. 20, Puerto Rico was in dire condition thanks to a decade-long economic recession that had left its infrastructure, including the island’s power lines, in a sorry state. Maria was the most powerful hurricane to hit the island in nearly a century and unleashed floods and mudslides that knocked out the island’s entire electrical grid and telecommunications, along with many roads.

Trump and other administration officials have worked in recent days to reassure Americans that recovery efforts are going well and combat a perception that the president failed to fully grasp the magnitude of the storm’s destruction in its immediate aftermath.

While early response efforts were hampered by logistical challenges, officials say that conditions, especially in the capital, have improved.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, there are now more than 10,000 federal officials on the ground on the island, and 45 percent of customers now have access to drinking water. Businesses are also beginning to reopen, with 60 percent of retail gas stations now up and running.

The Health and Human Services Department says federal medical teams with their own equipment and supplies have been sent to help provide care at Centro Medico, a major trauma center in San Juan. Additional teams have been sent to five hospitals in other parts of the island.

The department has also placed a liaison in each hospital that’s open, to make sure the facilities can get timely shipments of fuel needed to keep generators running, as well as medical supplies.

For many, however, Washington’s response isn’t enough. On Monday, the nonprofit relief group Oxfam announced that it would be taking the rare step of intervening in an American disaster, citing its outrage over what it called a “slow and inadequate response.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Federal judge blocks Florida abortion law

A federal judge has blocked a Florida law that would require people and groups that provide abortion advice to register with the state and furnish women with a detailed explanation of the procedure and alternatives.

U.S. Senior District Judge Robert Hinkle issued the ruling late Friday saying that the lawsuit filed by a minister, two rabbis, the Palm Beach chapter of the National Organization for Women and others would likely succeed at trial.

The plaintiffs argued that the 2016 law would compel them to pay a $200 fee and make statements they disagreed with and weren’t qualified to make. The plaintiffs don’t provide abortions but make referrals. They receive no government funds.

The state’s attorneys argued the plaintiffs had not been harmed by the law, that it wasn’t being enforced and that there was no penalty for not registering.

Hinkle, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, said the advice the plaintiffs provide is protected by the First Amendment, so the state cannot usually require them to register and pay a fee. He pointed out the state does not require similar individuals and groups giving advice on cancer treatment, vaccines and other legal medical procedures to register, only abortion.

He called a provision “hopelessly vague” that requires women and the parents of girls who seek abortion advice receive “a full and detailed explanation of abortion, including the effects of and alternatives to abortion.”

Nancy Abudu, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, issued a statement saying, “This ill-considered and dangerous law criminalized conversations between confidants, including friends, relatives, clergy people, mental health workers, and a host of others.

“We will continue to do everything possible to protect the rights of both Florida women contemplating an abortion and those they turn to seeking compassion and advice.”

Gov. Rick Scott‘s office said Saturday the ruling is being reviewed.

O.J. Simpson freed from prison. Right now, he’s staying near Vegas but will he return to Florida?

Officials at a remote Nevada prison where O.J. Simpson was set free early Sunday after nine years for armed robbery arranged the former football and Hollywood star’s dead-of-night departure to avoid public scrutiny.

It worked. Simpson signed release paperwork just before midnight and disappeared into the darkness minutes into the first day he was eligible for release. Through efforts by prison officials to keep the time and place secret, there were no journalists outside the prison gates to capture the moment.

Though publicity-prone in the past, Simpson apparently took the advice of people in his inner circle that he avoid the spotlight. He was neither heard from nor seen publicly, except when a television news crew found him in a car at a gas station on the way to Las Vegas and he declined to be interviewed.

State Division of Parole and Probation Capt. Shawn Arruti told The Associated Press that the former football hero and celebrity criminal defendant plans to live at a home in the Las Vegas area for the foreseeable future. Arruti declined for what he said were security and privacy reasons to disclose the exact location of the house.

The prisons spokeswoman also took photographs showing Simpson — in blue jeans, denim jacket, eyeglasses, ball cap and white sneakers — signing documents about 10 minutes before midnight. He later left the prison with four or five boxes of possessions in the car. Keast said she had no information about where he was going.

Tom Scotto, a Simpson friend who lives in Naples, said by text message an hour after the release that he was with Simpson. But Scotto did not answer texts asking where they were going or whether members of Simpson’s family were with them.

The 70-year-old Simpson said at the hearing that he wanted to move back to Florida, where he lived previously. That return did not appear imminent.

Florida’s Corrections Department “has not received any transfer paperwork from Nevada” about Simpson that would be required for him to live in the state and be monitored there, spokeswoman Ashley Cook said Sunday.

Though Florida’s attorney general has urged corrections officials to object to Simpson’s return, the department previously has said it would be required to accept a transfer if it met certain criteria.

“We understand we may have to take him, if he was a model prisoner. And two of his children live here, so that’s his hook for coming to Florida,” state Attorney General Pam Bondi said. “If we have to accept him, I certainly want conditions placed on him.”

Both LaVergne and Scotto said in recent interviews with the AP that they thought Simpson should stay out of public view and focus on family and friends.

Keast said the overnight release from the prison about 90 miles east of Reno, Nevada, was conducted to avoid media attention. No media were near the front gate at the time when Simpson’s car left the prison by a back road and entered nearby Interstate 80, she said.

“We needed to do this to ensure public safety and to avoid any possible incident,” Keast said.

Simpson lost his home near Miami to foreclosure in 2012. But two of his children, Justin and Sydney, also live in Florida.

It’s all a new chapter for the one-time pop culture phenomenon whose fame was once again on display when the major TV networks carried his parole hearing live.

He told officials that leading a group of five men into the hotel room confrontation was an error in judgment he would not repeat.

Simpson told the parole board that he led a “conflict-free life,” an assertion that angered many who believe he got away with killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles in 1994. He was acquitted the following year in what was dubbed the “trial of the century.”

In a statement released through a family spokesman, Goldman’s parents said they respected the Nevada Parole Board’s decision to release Simpson, but that it was “still difficult for us knowing he will be a free man again.”

Fred and Kim Goldman said they will continue to pursue payment of a $33.5 million judgment awarded in 1997 after Simpson was found civilly liable for the deaths. They also said they’ll keep advocating for domestic violence awareness, victim advocacy and judicial reform.

Simpson is still obligated to pay the judgment, which now amounts to about $65 million, according to David Cook, a Goldman family lawyer.

Simpson was once an electrifying running back dubbed “Juice” who won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best college football player for the University of Southern California in 1968 and became one of the NFL’s all-time greats with the Buffalo Bills.

Handsome and charming, he also provided commentary on “Monday Night Football,” became the face of Hertz rental-car commercials and built a movie career with roles in the “Naked Gun” comedies and other films.

Simpson fell from grace when he was arrested in the slayings, after a famous “slow-speed” Ford Bronco chase on California freeways. His subsequent trial became a live-TV sensation that fascinated viewers with testimony about a bloody glove that didn’t fit and unleashed furious debate over race, police and celebrity justice.

A jury swiftly acquitted him. But two years later, Simpson was found liable in civil court for the killings.

On Sept. 16, 2007, he led five men he barely knew into a cramped room at the Palace Station casino in Las Vegas in an effort to retrieve items that Simpson insisted were stolen after his acquittal in the 1994 slayings.

Two of the men with Simpson in Las Vegas carried handguns, although Simpson still insists he never knew anyone was armed. He says he only wanted to retrieve personal items, mementos and family photos from two sports memorabilia dealers.

His conviction in October 2008 in Las Vegas came 13 years to the day after his acquittal in October 1995 in Los Angeles. His lawyers called his stiff 9-to-33-year sentence for armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges unfair. Many other people characterized it as payback for his acquittal in the Los Angeles murder case.

If the nation’s Simpson obsession waned for a while, it resurged last year with the Emmy-winning FX miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” and the Oscar-winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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