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Q&A: ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams talks O.J. Simpson parole hearing

Former Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson's parole hearing is Thursday at 1 p.m. Buffalo time in Carson City, Nevada. Currently serving a 33-year prison sentence, Simpson has a chance of receiving good news and being released on parole from Lovelock Correctional Center as soon as Oct. 1.

How good are Simpson's chances of being granted parole? What will the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners weigh in making a decision?

Here are those questions, and others, answered by ABC News Chief Legal Analyst and LawNewz Network Founder Dan Abrams in a conversation with The Buffalo News.

To understand the context behind some of Abrams' answers, take a look at our "What you need to know" from Tuesday.

What you need to know about O.J. Simpson's parole hearing Thursday

Q: What are the chances Simpson is granted parole?

Abrams: It's more likely than not ... but because he's O.J. Simpson, because of the spector that hangs over him from the criminal and civil cases, I think that there's a chance that members of the parole board will not want to release him. But we'll see.

Q: How normal is it for that factor (O.J. simply being O.J.) to play in the decision?

DA: There are 11 factors that the parole board is supposed to consider. His criminal history is one of them but ... he was acquitted in the murder case. In theory, that shouldn't matter. I guess you can make an argument that one of the potential other factors is, 'Is the person a threat to public safety?' and you could I guess make an argument that because he was found responsible in the civil case, that he's a threat to public safety, but it's a long-shot argument.

Q: How many of the answers to those 11 factors are more subjective than objective?

DA: Most of them involve a level of discretion. But his age, for example, and his gender, are pretty objective. I mean, he's 70. He's definitely old. That helps him. He's male. That hurts him. I think it's pretty safe to say that he's got a very good record in prison. Something like the nature of the offense, that could be subjective. Is he a threat to public safety? Things like that are more subjective, so it's a combination.

Q: For someone who doesn't understand, how would you explain why Simpson was granted parole in October 2013 but is up for parole again in 2017?

DA: There were five charges where he was eligible for parole in 2013 and on those charges, he was granted parole. But there were an additional seven charges where he's now up for parole, only now. So it was clear back in 2013 that even if he was granted parole on those five charges, he wasn't going anywhere because he still had the other seven.

Q: Does the intense media attention have any effect on the proceedings of this case?

DA: Look, the media attention, the newfound media attention, shouldn't have any impact. But parole commissioners are humans and the question is gonna be ... I don't think the media attention per se is gonna be the issue. I think it's gonna be still the fact that he's O.J. Simpson. And those two are maybe intertwined. I don't know that the media attention per se is gonna be a factor but definitely the fact that he's O.J. Simpson and so many people know who he is is going to be one.

Q: What are the next steps for Simpson if he is granted parole?

DA: If he gets paroled, he very well might be on probation for a while. But regardless, once he's granted parole he's likely - I mean there could be restrictions - but in all likelihood if he's granted parole there wouldn't be many apart from checking in with a parole officer on a regular basis, potentially getting drug tested, etc. But he'd be able to go on with life.

Q: What kind of coverage will you be providing on LawNewz Network?

DA: Anyone can watch it on We've been live-streaming trials for six months now and it's gotten really big and we're about to get major distribution in the next few months. But this will definitely be the biggest story we've done to date. The other anchors are, for example, Aaron Keller, who is an attorney who was involved in the Making a Murderer story. He was the reporter in the Making a Murderer story who's now an attorney and an anchor with us. Rachel Stockman, the editor of LawNewz. She's a Yale Law grad. Beth Karas is gonna be on set, longtime CNN and court TV reporter. And Yale Galanter, OJ's attorney.

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