Image of Trump post saying he's 'just as innocent' as O.J. Simpson is fabricated | Fact check

The claim: Image shows Trump statement saying he’s ‘just as innocent’ as O.J. Simpson

An April 12 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) purports to show a statement from former President Donald Trump about the death of O.J. Simpson, the former football player who was acquitted on charges of murdering his wife and her friend 30 years ago.

“We lost a terrific man who had razor sharp whit (sic) and a killer smile today,” reads the purported Truth Social post from Trump. “And he liked ME, so you know he was a good man! Just like your favorite President, ME, he was accused of horrible things. He said he didn’t do those things and I’m just as innocent as him! Rest in piece OJ (sic)!”

It garnered more than 4,000 likes in less than two weeks. Another version of the claim spread widely on Facebook.

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The image is fabricated. There is no such statement about Simpson's death on Trump's Truth Social account or on the former president's website.

Trump was interested in having Simpson on 'The Apprentice'

The claim appeared as Trump's hush-money trial, in which he is facing 34 felony charges, gets underway in New York.

Though Trump has used his Truth Social platform to criticize the trial, there is no post in which he claims he's "just as innocent" as Simpson on his account. The statement also doesn't appear in Trump's campaign news releases or in reports from legitimate news outlets.

Fact check: Judge didn't deny Trump request to skip hush money trial for son's graduation 

Trump has spoken publicly about Simpson in the past, however.

In 2008, Trump said in two different interviews that he was interested in having Simpson appear on his show, "The Celebrity Apprentice," because of the ratings boost he thought Simpson's participation would generate, CNN reported. Trump said NBC rejected the pitch.

Simpson, 76, died of prostate cancer on April 10. He was a football star, sports commentator and actor before being accused of killing his ex-wife and her friend in 1994. He was acquitted in a 1995 criminal trial but found liable in 1997 following a civil trial.

USA TODAY has debunked an array of altered content about the two figures, including false claims that an image shows Simpson’s last social media post saying “I did it,” that a video shows Trump vowing to free Imran Khan from prison if elected in 2024 and that an image shows a Trump statement saying he’ll hire a lawyer with “more practical experience” after losing the E. Jean Carroll case.

USA TODAY reached out to Trump's spokesperson and users who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Check Your Fact also debunked the claim.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: No, Trump didn't say he's as 'innocent' as O.J. Simpson | Fact check