the unknown side of what's bumpin' in the trucks

O.J. Simpson is finally takin’ an up north trip…

In posse on 2008/12/06 at 7:09 am



LAS VEGAS — O.J. Simpson, the one-time football great who was acquitted in perhaps the most-watched murder trial of the 20th century, was sentenced Friday to a minimum of nine years in prison for his role in a 2007 raid on a Las Vegas hotel room in which two collectibles dealers were robbed of a trove of sports memorabilia.

O.J. Simpson with his attorneys as he was sentenced at the County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Friday.

Shortly before the sentence, Mr. Simpson, wearing a blue prison jumpsuit, his arms handcuffed in front of him, made a surprise statement in which he told Judge Jackie Glass of Clark County District Court: “I didn’t want to hurt anybody. I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong.”“I stand before you somewhat confused,” Mr. Simpson, his voice breaking, said in the rambling statement in which he uttered the word “sorry” at least four times.

Juge Glass seemed unimpressed, “The evidence was overwhelming,” she said before pronouncing sentence first on one of Mr. Simpson’s five accomplices, Clarence Stewart, 54, and then on Mr. Simpson himself.

.Both men were convicted by the same jury of the same 12 charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery, stemming from the incident at the Palace Station Hotel-Casino.

“It was an itty-bitty room and a lot of you big guys in that itty-bitty room,” Judge Glass said. “That was ‘nobody leave this room.’ That was acutally a very violent event. Guns were brought; one was displayed. The potential for harm to occur in that room was tremendous.”

Before the sentencing, the judge denied a defense motion that Mr. Simpson be released on bail pending appeal.

Mr. Simpson was convicted on Oct. 3 13 years to the day after he was acquitted in the killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald L. Goldman.

The jury of nine women and three men found Mr. Simpson guilty of storming into a hotel room in September 2007 with a group of five friends, at least two of whom carried guns, and seizing memorabilia worth thousands of dollars from the dealers, Bruce L. Fromong and Alfred Beardsley.

Mr. Simpson did not testify at the three-week trial and has been in custody at the Clark County Detention Center since his conviction. In interviews after his arrest, he said that he had gone to the hotel only to recover personal items stolen from the trophy room of his home in Los Angeles, and that he was unaware the other men were armed.

Four of his accomplices pleaded guilty and testified against Mr. Simpson, an N.F.L. Hall of Fame inductee, at a trial that played out like a low-key echo of his circuslike trial in 1995

Lawyers for Mr. Simpson and Mr. Stewart have said they will appeal the convictions.

Mr. Simpson’s lead lawyer, Yale Galanter, said his legal team planned to challenge the outcome on several grounds. The lawyers argue that jury selection was manipulated to produce a panel with no African-Americans, and that Judge Glass biased jurors by engaging in theatrics like berating lawyers and witnesses, sighing and waving her hands in disgust.

“What she did was horrible towards the defense, and that really does have an impact on jurors,” said a criminal defense lawyer not associated with the case, Dayvid Figler. “They can easily make a greatest hits of her screaming or yelling shut up or other signals to the jury.”

Another criminal defense lawyer, David Chesnoff, said Mr. Stewart might have a better chance for an appeal because Judge Glass denied repeated requests by his lawyers for a separate trial to avoid Mr. Stewart’s being associated with the notoriety attached to Mr. Simpson.

“There are some issues on severance for Mr. Stewart that the Nevada Supreme Court has been sensitive to in the past,” said Mr. Chesnoff, who has represented Martha Stewart and Mike Tyson, among other celebrity clients.

“I saw a great deal of the trial,” he said. “I didn’t see any egregious errors by the judge. She knows the rules of evidence.”

In a glittering career as a running back in the 1970s, Mr. Simpson was one of the most famous American football players of his generation. But he became the prime suspect in the savage 1994 murder of Ms. Simpson, who had divorced him two years earlier, and Mr. Goldman, outside Ms. Simpson’s home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. She was attacked so savagely she was almost decapitated.

Mr. Simpson, who has always vehemently maintained his innocence in the killings, was acquitted after a racially charged trial in 1995. He was found liable for the deaths in a 1997 civil suit and was ordered to pay damages to the victims’ families totaling $33.5 million.

Little of the civil judgment has been collected, and the Goldman family, which has aggressively pursued Mr. Simpson’s assets, is expected to push for hearings to determine who owns the Simpson-related items seized in the raid. ”There’s going to have to be a separate hearing regarding the disposition of the property,” said Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles who covered the 1995 murder trial for CBS News. ”Some of the property the Goldmans have a claim to. Some of the property belonged to the victims. And some if it may rightfully belong to O.J. Simpson, so it would go back to his family.”

Mobb Deep – Up North Trip.mp3

via New York


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