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OJ Simpson Convicted in Las Vegas, Nevada

WHen the cops bribe people to testify against somebody that is wrong. In this case the cops or really the prosecutor bribed a number of people that helped OJ in this mess to help the cops convict OJ. Well they didn't give the people any money but they agreeded to drop all their charge of give them petty charges which they would not be punished for. I wonder if OJ would have been convicted if the cops had not given out these bribes.

The questions isn't is OJ guilty, the question is it OK for the cops to bribe co-defendants in a trial to get them to convict another defendant. In the case clearly a whole lot of people in the world want to BURN OJ because they think he got away with murder 10 years ago in his murder trial.

In the murder trial I don't know if OJ is guilty or not. But I suspect that the LAPD did frame OJ regardless of weather he was guilty or not. And I would give him at least a 50/50 chance of being guilty.

This trial is also very confusing. Was OJ just stealing back stuff that was stolen from him? Or was it really an armed robbery and kidnapping like the cops say. OJ says it wasn't the cops who want to get OJ say it was. Its hard for me to decide guilt on that.

http://www.lvrj.com/news/30462194.html

Oct. 04, 2008

Copyright Las Vegas Review-Journal

PALACE STATION ROBBERY: O.J. Simpson guilty

Co-defendant also convicted on all counts in heist

By BRIAN HAYNES REVIEW-JOURNAL O.J. Simpson Trial

On Friday, 13 years to the day of the verdict in the so-called "Trial of the Century," Simpson again stood before a jury and waited to hear his fate. This time there were no smiles. Not one fist pump nor back slap. Just hanging heads and sobs.

After deliberating for roughly 13 hours, the jury of nine women and three men convicted Simpson, 61, and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart, 54, on all counts in connection with last year's holdup of two sports memorabilia dealers at the Palace Station. The convictions include two counts each of robbery with a deadly weapon and first-degree kidnapping with a deadly weapon, the latter carrying a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after five years.

Immediately after the verdicts were read, Simpson and Stewart were handcuffed and taken into custody at the request of District Attorney David Roger. District Judge Jackie Glass denied requests to leave the men free until sentencing or give them bail.

Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 5.

During the 31/2-week trial, Simpson's lawyers painted him as a man who simply sought to recover game-used footballs, plaques and other cherished family heirlooms that had been stolen from him a decade ago.

Prosecutors painted a much different picture, one of a ringleader who orchestrated the armed stickup to exact revenge against his estranged former agent and the man Simpson believed had stolen his property.

Jurors heard from nearly two dozen witnesses, including four former co-defendants, the two memorabilia dealers and the auctioneer who helped Simpson set up the bogus business deal. They also heard hours of secret audio recordings made before, during and after the Sept. 13, 2007, incident.

They deliberated into the night Friday and reached a verdict about 9:45 p.m. When they filed into the courtroom just before 11 p.m., none of them looked toward the defense tables.

The court clerk read Stewart's verdict first, and it was soon apparent to Simpson and his supporters what his fate would be. Simpson shoved his hands in his pockets, pursed his lips and gently nodded his head as Stewart's verdict was read.

He did the same as his verdict was read. In the gallery behind him, one of his sisters, Carmelita Durio, and his best friend, Thomas Scotto, sobbed on each other's shoulders.

"We love you, O.J.," Scotto said as court marshals led Simpson and Stewart away in handcuffs.

Later, Durio collapsed on the floor of the courtroom and required medical attention.

After the hearing, Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter said Simpson was extremely emotional and upset by the verdict.

Galanter said he believed jurors couldn't put aside their feelings about Simpson and his troubled past.

"Defending someone like O.J. Simpson, everybody already had a fixed opinion about him," he said. "And it's troubling. And I think it's difficult to put those opinions aside."

Galanter said he planned to file a motion for a new trial as well as an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court that would include several issues.

"I'm not here to discuss what our points on appeal are," he said. "And I'm also not here to tell you we didn't get a fair shake. All I'm saying is I think there are some significant legal issues we'll appeal. Obviously jury selection is going to be one of them."

The jury did not include any blacks.

Stewart lawyer Brent Bryson said he was "very disappointed" in the verdict.

"We really don't feel this is a just verdict," said Bryson, who made several attempts to sever Stewart's trial from Simpson's before and during the trial.

He believed that Simpson influenced the verdict for his client, and he planned on appealing the issue to the state Supreme Court.

Prosecutors declined comment through a spokesman.

Review-Journal reporter David Kihara contributed to this report. Contact Brian Haynes at bhaynes@review journal.com or 702-383-0281.

O.J. Simpson and Clarence Thomas were both convicted on 12 counts, Friday in Las Vegas:

COUNT 1 Conspiracy to Commit a Crime: 1 year in prison

COUNT 2 Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping: 1 to 6 years in prison

COUNT 3 Conspiracy to Commit Robbery: 1 to 6 years in prison

COUNT 4 Burglary with a Deadly Weapon: 2 to 15 years in prison

COUNT 5 First-degree Kidnapping with a Deadly Weapon: 15 years OR life in prison, both with parole eligibility after 5 years (plus 1 to 20 years with deadly weapon enhancement)

COUNT 6 First-degree Kidnapping with a Deadly Weapon: 15 years OR life in prison, both with parole eligibility after 5 years (plus 1 to 20 years with deadly weapon enhancement)

COUNT 7 Robbery with a Deadly Weapon: 2 to 15 years in prison (plus 1 to 15 years with deadly weapon enhancement)

COUNT 8 Robbery with a Deadly Weapon: 2 to 15 years in prison (plus 1 to 15 years with deadly weapon enhancement)

COUNT 9 Assault with a Deadly Weapon: 1 to 6 years in prison

COUNT 10 Assault with a Deadly Weapon: 1 to 6 years in prison

COUNT 11 Coercion with a Deadly Weapon: 1 to 6 years in prison (plus 1 to 6 years with deadly weapon enhancement)

COUNT 12 Coercion with a Deadly Weapon: 1 to 6 years in prison (plus 1 to 6 years with deadly weapon enhancement)

------------------

A timeline of major events preceding O.J. Simpson's conviction Friday in Las Vegas:

June 12, 1994: O.J. Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, found dead in Los Angeles.

Oct. 3, 1995: Simpson acquitted of two counts of murder in Los Angeles.

February 1997: Simpson found liable for compensatory and punitive damages in wrongful death civil lawsuit; ordered to pay $33.5 million to Goldman, Nicole Brown Simpson estates.

July 1997: Bank claims Simpson's Brentwood mansion in foreclosure sale. Goldman family lawyers seek Simpson assets to satisfy civil judgment.

September 1997: Simpson moves out of Brentwood house.

Feb. 16, 1999: Simpson's Heisman Trophy, other memorabilia auctioned; bidder later sets them afire.

Oct. 24, 2001: Simpson cleared of all charges in a Florida case involving an alleged road-rage incident. He is represented by attorney Yale Galanter.

Nov. 20, 2006: Publisher cancels book, "If I Did It," amid controversy. Simpson calls ghostwritten book a fictional account of how he might have killed his ex-wife and her friend.

July 30, 2007: Federal bankruptcy judge in Miami awards the rights of Simpson's canceled "If I Did It" book to the Goldman family to satisfy wrongful death judgment.

August 2007: Simpson fan, memorabilia dealer Alfred Beardsley calls collectibles broker Thomas Riccio to arrange sale of Simpson items in Las Vegas.

Aug. 21, 2007: Riccio tells FBI that Simpson plans to confront a collector he believes is peddling stolen Simpson memorabilia; testifies the FBI told him it was a civil matter.

Sept. 12, 2007: Simpson arrives in Las Vegas for friend Tom Scotto's wedding.

Sept. 13, 2007: The Goldmans publish Simpson's book under the title: "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer."

Sept. 13, 2007: Simpson, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, Walter "Goldie" Alexander, Michael "Spencer" McClinton, Charles Ehrlich and Charles Cashmore confront memorabilia dealers Beardsley and Bruce Fromong in Riccio's room at Palace Station casino hotel. Riccio secretly records it. Beardsley, Fromong report an armed robbery.

Sept. 14, 2007: Simpson tells The Associated Press no guns were involved and some of the items taken had been stolen from him.

Sept. 15, 2007: Police arrest Alexander at McCarran International Airport. Simpson attends Scotto's wedding in Las Vegas.

Sept. 16, 2007: Simpson arrested at The Palms.

Sept. 17, 2007: Stewart surrenders to police, turns over items taken from hotel room. Fromong hospitalized in Los Angeles after suffering heart attack.

Sept. 18, 2007: McClinton surrenders to police. Simpson, McClinton, Stewart, Alexander charged with nine felonies, including kidnapping.

Sept. 19, 2007: Simpson freed on $125,000 bail, returns home to Miami. Beardsley arrested on California parole violation. Cashmore surrenders to police.

Sept. 21, 2007: Ehrlich turns himself in at court.

Oct. 15, 2007: Cashmore, Alexander take plea deals, agree to testify against Simpson.

Oct. 29, 2007: McClinton takes plea deal, agrees to testify against Simpson.

Nov. 14, 2007: Las Vegas judge binds Simpson, Stewart, Ehrlich over for trial in state court on 12 charges, including kidnapping, conspiracy, armed robbery. Alexander depicts Simpson as mastermind of scheme to recover possessions. McClinton testifies he brought two guns, wielded one, gave another to Alexander. Cashmore testifies he went along to help Simpson carry items.

Nov. 16, 2007: Simpson leaves recorded phone message with bail bondsman Miguel Pereira to tell Stewart about how upset Simpson is about preliminary hearing testimony.

Nov. 28, 2007: Simpson, Stewart, Ehrlich plead not guilty to all 12 charges.

Jan. 11: Pereira retrieves Simpson from Miami, brings him to Clark County jail pending hearing on whether the Nov. 16 message violated court order not to contact co-defendants.

Jan. 16: Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass reprimands Simpson, doubles his bail to $250,000.

March 7: Glass postpones trial from April 7 to Sept. 8.

Aug. 4: Ehrlich takes plea deal, agrees to testify against Simpson.

August: Nevada Supreme Court denies several requests by Stewart's lawyers to sever his case from Simpson's or to delay trial.

Sept. 8: Jury selection begins for Simpson, Stewart on 12 charges, including kidnapping, armed robbery, conspiracy, coercion, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon.

Sept. 15-Oct. 1: Trial testimony.

Oct. 2: Closing arguments.

Oct. 3: Jury returns verdict. Simpson found guilty on all counts.

SOURCES: AP reporting, Las Vegas police arrest reports, Clark County District Court, Las Vegas Justice Court records.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/10/03/20081003simpson-ON.html

Jury finds O.J. Simpson guilty on all charges

Oct. 4, 2008 02:00 AM

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS - O.J. Simpson, who went from American sports idol to celebrity-in-exile after he was acquitted of murder in 1995, was found guilty Friday of robbing two sports-memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room.

The 61-year-old former football star could spend the rest of his life in prison. Sentencing was set for Dec. 5.

A weary and somber Simpson released a heavy sigh as the charges were read by the clerk in Clark County District Court. He was immediately taken into custody. The Hall of Fame football star was convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and 10 other charges for gathering up five men a year ago and storming into a room at a hotel-casino, where the group seized several game balls, plaques and photos. Prosecutors said two of the men with him were armed; one of them said Simpson asked him to bring a gun.

The verdict came 13 years to the day after Simpson was cleared of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles in one of the most sensational trials of the 20th century.

"I don't like to use the word payback," defense attorney Yale Galanter said. "I can tell you from the beginning my biggest concern ... was whether or not the jury would be able to separate their very strong feelings about Mr. Simpson and judge him fairly and honestly."

Simpson's co-defendant, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, 54, also was found guilty on all charges in the Las Vegas case and taken into custody.

Simpson showed little emotion as officers handcuffed him and walked him out of the courtroom. His sister, Carmelita Durio, sobbed behind him in the arms of Simpson's friend, Tom Scotto, who said "I love you" as Simpson passed by. As spectators left the courtroom, Durio collapsed.

Jurors made no eye contact with the defendants as they entered the courtroom. They declined to answer questions after the verdict was read.

Galanter said his client had expected the outcome, and in a courthouse conversation with an Associated Press reporter on Thursday, Simpson had implied as much.

Simpson said he felt melancholy and that he was "afraid that I won't get to go to my kids' college graduations after I managed to get them through college."

Galanter said it was not a happy day for anybody. "His only hope is the appellate process," he said.

Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said prosecutors would not comment until the case was "completely resolved."

Judge Jackie Glass made no comment other than to thank the jury for its service and to deny motions for the defendants to be released on bail.

She refused to give the lawyers extended time to file a motion for new trial, which under Nevada law must be filed within seven days. The attorneys said they needed time to submit a voluminous record.

"I've sat through the trial," Glass said. "If you want a motion for new trial, send me something."

Stewart's attorney, Brent Bryson, promised to appeal.

"If there was ever a case that should have been severed in the history of jurisprudence, it's this case," he said of unsuccessful attempts to separate Stewart's case from Simpson's because of the "spillover" effect.

From the beginning, Simpson and his lawyers argued the incident was not a robbery, but an attempt to reclaim mementos that had been stolen from him. He said he did not ask anyone to bring a weapon and did not see any guns.

The defense portrayed Simpson as a victim of shady characters who wanted to make a buck off his famous name, and police officers who saw his arrest as an opportunity to "get" him and avenge his acquittal.

Prosecutors said Simpson's ownership of the memorabilia was irrelevant; it was still a crime to try to take things by force.

"When they went into that room and forced the victims to the far side of the room, pulling out guns and yelling, `Don't let anybody out of here!' - six very large people detaining these two victims in the room with the intent to take property through force or violence from them - that's kidnapping," prosecutor David Roger said.

Kidnapping is punishable by five years to life in prison. Armed robbery carries a mandatory sentence of at least two years behind bars, and could bring as much as 30.

Simpson, who now lives in Miami, did not testify but was heard on a recording of the confrontation screaming that the dealers had stolen his property. "Don't let nobody out of this room," he declared and told the other men to scoop up his items, which included a photo of Simpson with former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Four other men charged in the case struck plea bargains that saved them from potential prison sentences in return for their testimony. Some of them had criminal records or were otherwise compromised in some way. One, for example, was an alleged pimp who testified he had a revelation from God telling him to take a plea bargain.

Memorabilia dealer Thomas Riccio, who arranged and secretly recorded the hotel-room confrontation, said he netted $210,000 from the media for the tapes.

Similarly, minutes after the Sept. 13, 2007, incident, one of the alleged victims, sports-memorabilia dealer Alfred Beardsley, was calling news outlets, and the other, Bruce Fromong, spoke of getting "big money" from the case.

Simpson's past haunted the case. Las Vegas police officers were heard in the recordings chuckling over Simpson's misfortune and crowing that if Los Angeles couldn't "get" him, they would.

During jury selection, Simpson's lawyers expressed fears that people who believed he got away with murder might see this case as a chance to right a wrong.

As a result, an usually large pool of 500 potential jurors was called, and they were given a 26-page questionnaire. Half were almost instantly eliminated after expressing strong feelings that Simpson should have been convicted of murder.

The judge instructed the jurors to put aside Simpson's earlier case.

In closing arguments, Galanter acknowledged that what Simpson did to recover his memorabilia was not right. "But being stupid, and being frustrated is not being a criminal," he said.

He added: "This case has taken on a life of its own because of Mr. Simpson's involvement. You know that. I know that. Every cooperator, every person who had a gun, every person who had an ulterior motive, every person who signed a book deal, every person who got paid money, the police, the district attorney's office, is only interested in one thing: Mr. Simpson."

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OJ_SIMPSON?SITE=AZMES&SECTION=NATIONAL&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Oct 4, 9:50 AM EDT

Simpson convicted of robbing memorabilia dealers

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Thirteen years to the day after being acquitted of killing his wife and her friend in Los Angeles, O.J. Simpson was found guilty of robbing two sports-memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room.

The 61-year-old former football star was convicted of all 12 counts late Friday after jurors deliberated for more than 13 hours. He released a heavy sigh as the charges were read and was immediately taken into custody.

Simpson, who went from American sports idol to celebrity-in-exile after his murder acquittal, could spend the rest of his life in prison.

His attorney said he would appeal.

Many people considered the four-week trial justice delayed. Simpson was cleared in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in one of the most sensational trials of the 20th century, but was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case.

"I don't like to use the word payback," defense attorney Yale Galanter said. "I can tell you from the beginning my biggest concern ... was whether or not the jury would be able to separate their very strong feelings about Mr. Simpson and judge him fairly and honestly."

The Hall of Fame football star was convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and 10 other charges for gathering up five men a year ago and storming into a room at a hotel-casino, where the group seized several game balls, plaques and photos. Prosecutors said two of the men with him were armed; one of them said Simpson asked him to bring a gun.

Simpson's co-defendant, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, 54, also was found guilty on all charges and taken into custody.

Simpson showed little emotion as officers handcuffed him and walked him out of the courtroom. His sister, Carmelita Durio, sobbed behind him in the arms of Simpson's friend, Tom Scotto, who said "I love you" as Simpson passed by. As spectators left the courtroom, Durio collapsed.

Jurors made no eye contact with the defendants as they entered the courtroom. They declined to answer questions after the verdict was read.

Galanter said his client had expected the outcome, and in a courthouse conversation with an Associated Press reporter on Thursday, Simpson had implied as much.

Simpson said he was "afraid that I won't get to go to my kids' college graduations after I managed to get them through college."

Galanter said it was not a happy day for anybody. "His only hope is the appellate process," he said.

Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said prosecutors would not comment until the case was "completely resolved."

Judge Jackie Glass made no comment other than to thank the jury for its service and to deny motions for the defendants to be released on bail.

She refused to give the lawyers extended time to file a motion for new trial, which under Nevada law must be filed within seven days. The attorneys said they needed time to submit a voluminous record.

"I've sat through the trial," Glass said. "If you want a motion for new trial, send me something."

Stewart's attorney, Brent Bryson, also promised to appeal.

"If there was ever a case that should have been severed in the history of jurisprudence, it's this case," he said of unsuccessful attempts to separate Stewart's case from Simpson's because of the "spillover" effect.

From the beginning, Simpson and his lawyers argued the incident was not a robbery, but an attempt to reclaim mementos that had been stolen from him. He said he did not ask anyone to bring a weapon and did not see any guns.

The defense portrayed Simpson as a victim of shady characters who wanted to make a buck off his famous name, and police officers who saw his arrest as an opportunity to "get" him and avenge his acquittal.

Prosecutors said Simpson's ownership of the memorabilia was irrelevant; it was still a crime to try to take things by force.

"When they went into that room and forced the victims to the far side of the room, pulling out guns and yelling, `Don't let anybody out of here!' - six very large people detaining these two victims in the room with the intent to take property through force or violence from them - that's kidnapping," prosecutor David Roger said.

Kidnapping is punishable by five years to life in prison. Armed robbery carries a mandatory sentence of at least two years behind bars, and could bring as much as 30. Sentencing was set for Dec. 5.

Simpson, who now lives in Miami, did not testify but was heard on a recording of the confrontation screaming that the dealers had stolen his property. "Don't let nobody out of this room," he declared and told the other men to scoop up his items, which included a photo of Simpson with former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Four other men charged in the case struck plea bargains that saved them from potential prison sentences in return for their testimony. Some of them had criminal records or were otherwise compromised in some way. One, for example, was an alleged pimp who testified he had a revelation from God telling him to take a plea bargain.

Memorabilia dealer Thomas Riccio, who arranged and secretly recorded the hotel-room confrontation, said he netted $210,000 from the media for the tapes.

Similarly, minutes after the Sept. 13, 2007, incident, one of the alleged victims, sports-memorabilia dealer Alfred Beardsley, was calling news outlets, and the other, Bruce Fromong, spoke of getting "big money" from the case.

Simpson's past haunted the case. Las Vegas police officers were heard in the recordings chuckling over Simpson's misfortune and crowing that if Los Angeles couldn't "get" him, they would.

During jury selection, Simpson's lawyers expressed fears that people who believed he got away with murder might see this case as a chance to right a wrong.

As a result, an usually large pool of 500 potential jurors was called, and they were given a 26-page questionnaire. Half were almost instantly eliminated after expressing strong feelings that Simpson should have been convicted of murder.

The judge instructed the jurors to put aside Simpson's earlier case.

In closing arguments, Galanter acknowledged that what Simpson did to recover his memorabilia was not right. "But being stupid, and being frustrated is not being a criminal," he said.

He added: "This case has taken on a life of its own because of Mr. Simpson's involvement. You know that. I know that. Every cooperator, every person who had a gun, every person who had an ulterior motive, every person who signed a book deal, every person who got paid money, the police, the district attorney's office, is only interested in one thing: Mr. Simpson."

---

Associated Press writers Ken Ritter and Kathleen Hennessey contributed to this report.


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oj4-2008oct04,0,1335043.story

Las Vegas jury finds O.J. Simpson guilty

The former football star is convicted on all counts, including robbery and kidnapping.

He'll be sentenced Dec. 5.

By Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 4, 2008

LAS VEGAS -- A jury convicted O.J. Simpson of armed robbery and kidnapping late Friday night, 13 years to the day after he was acquitted of killing his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles.

Simpson and his codefendant, Clarence Stewart, were both convicted on all 12 counts. As the court clerk read "guilty" 24 times shortly before 11 p.m., Simpson grimaced and then nodded slightly, quickly regaining his composure. From the gallery, his sister, Carmelita Durio, wept on a friend's shoulder.

Both defendants were handcuffed and taken into custody. Durio's weeping became wailing as marshals escorted Simpson from the courtroom.

The verdicts mean that Simpson, 61, faces a possible life sentence for a six-minute confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers last year at a down-market casino hotel. Sentencing will be Dec. 5.

The Las Vegas courtroom scene stood in marked contrast to the conclusion of Simpson's 1995 trial, when he smiled broadly and mouthed his thanks to the Los Angeles jury as the stunned families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman wept.

Neither victim in the Las Vegas case was on hand for the reading of the verdict.

Through a court administrator, jurors said they did not want to talk with the media. Prosecutors too declined comment.

Simpson's attorneys pledged to appeal. His longtime lawyer, Yale Galanter, cited jury selection as one basis for a new trial. The defense has charged that prosecutors purposefully excluded African Americans.

"His only hope is the appellate process," Galanter said at a late-night news conference.

Although none of the 12 jurors was black, two of the six alternates were. The panel of nine women and three men deliberated more than 13 hours after listening to nearly three weeks of testimony. Their discussions had begun Friday morning.

The state court case here was marked by hours of secret audio recordings, alleged victims who professed to like Simpson and witnesses who tried to cash in on their ties to the former NFL star.

Prosecutors painted Simpson as masterminding the alleged robbery of two sports collectibles dealers in a hotel room last year. The Hall of Fame running back, the prosecution contended, rounded up five cohorts, told two of them to bring guns and ordered one of the armed men to brandish his weapon and "look menacing."

Simpson and Stewart, 54, were charged with a dozen crimes, including armed robbery and kidnapping, which carries a potential life sentence. Four of their former codefendants agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges and testified for the prosecution.

Despite detailing an intriguing plot with colorful characters, the proceedings paled next to Simpson's months-long, televised "trial of the century" in the slayings of his ex-wife and Goldman. The 1995 case became a cultural flash point that drew huge courthouse crowds and polarized black and white Americans.

A civil jury in 1997 found the Heisman Trophy winner liable for the deaths. The onetime actor, pitchman and sports commentator has paid little of the $33.5-million judgment.

In Las Vegas, the anticipated circus never showed up. Media coverage dwindled as the economy faltered and the presidential election ramped up. On most days, Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass' courtroom was only half-filled.

Simpson, who did not take the stand, was here in September 2007 to take part in a friend's wedding. Simpson has said he and his associates were trying to retrieve stolen mementos from collectibles dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley in the Palace Station hotel room.

"We may quibble with how it was done, what was done," said Simpson attorney Galanter in his closing argument. "You may all say he didn't use common sense. But the real issue is whether he had criminal intent to commit a crime."

Prosecutors, however, say the group stole up to $100,000 in footballs, plaques and baseballs at gunpoint from the dealers, who had been tricked into thinking they were meeting a wealthy buyer.

Simpson and his associates "thought they could spin it that, 'It's all OK; it was my stuff,' " said prosecutor Chris Owens in the state's final rebuttal. That mind-set, he said, showed the football icon's "arrogance."

Simpson maintains he never saw guns during the alleged robbery or asked anyone to bring one, although nearly everyone in Room 1203 testified to seeing at least one pistol. Two men -- Michael McClinton and Walter Alexander -- told jurors they carried a .45-caliber Ruger and a .22-caliber Beretta, respectively, at Simpson's behest.

Thomas Riccio, the auctioneer who set up the meeting with the dealers, surreptitiously taped the six-minute encounter on a digital recorder hidden atop an armoire. He later sold the clip to celebrity gossip site TMZ.com for $150,000. Riccio, who was granted immunity for cooperating with prosecutors, also taped the hours surrounding the confrontation -- including Simpson denying in phone calls afterward that he saw weapons.

Jurors also heard phone calls that Simpson made from jail, a voicemail in which Alexander appeared willing to slant his testimony for money, and a secret exchange between investigators at the crime scene in which they mocked the double-murder acquittal.

"You're just picking on him because you are mad about the verdict," says one investigator.

"Yep," replies another.

The prosecution's strongest audio evidence was probably a 26-minute conversation that McClinton secretly taped shortly after the incident. At the restaurant Little Buddha, a man identified as Simpson asks whether McClinton pulled out "the piece" in the hotel hallway.

McClinton repeatedly says no. "I kept that thing in my pocket till we got inside that room," he says at one point.

Simpson sounds relieved and says he assumes security cameras were monitoring the hotel hallway.

"There ain't nothing on that video . . . ain't nothing he can see," he says. "They gonna see us going in the place. They gonna see us leaving with just the boxes."

The recordings appeared to shore up a case rife with unsympathetic victims and potentially suspect witnesses. Fromong, for example, got choked up while describing his frayed friendship with Simpson. Beardsley blamed Riccio for the altercation, suggested his recordings had been tampered with and told jurors the charges against Simpson should be dropped.

Many of Simpson's cohort sought media interviews and book deals after the altercation -- even defense witness Tom Scotto, who testified that the self-proclaimed gunmen threatened him and tried to extort $50,000 from him or Simpson. Riccio has published a book called "Busted."

Prosecutors, said Galanter, also "gave out so many get-out-of-jail-free cards and so many probation cards in this case that they could get the witnesses to say anything."

But Dist. Atty. David Roger encouraged jurors to focus on the secret recordings and the volume of corresponding witness testimony.

At the end of his closing argument, the prosecutor displayed Simpson and Stewart's mugshots on a screen overlaid with -- in red capital letters -- the word "guilty."

ashley.powers@latimes.com

 

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