O J Simpson goes on trial over road rage

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The Independent US

O J Simpson went on trial yesterday accused of burglary and battery in Florida, with prosecutors saying the "enraged" former star of American football pulled off another motorist's glasses during a roadside confrontation last year.

The prosecutor, Abbe Rifkin, said the confrontation began when Mr Simpson got out of his car and shouted: "So I blew the stop sign. What are you going to do? Kill me and my kids?"

The defence countered that the other driver, Jeffrey Pattinson, acted like "a madman".

The charges of auto burglary and battery carry a possible 16-year prison sentence. The eight jurors took their seats on Wednesday after their views on Mr Simpson's acquittal at a criminal trial in the 1994 killings of his ex-wife and her friend were explored in depth.

The two drivers clashed in a Miami suburb on 4 December last year. Mr Pattinson told police he honked and flashed his lights when Mr Simpson's sport utility vehicle rolled through a stop sign. Mr Simpson allegedly approached Mr Pattinson's vehicle, reached in and pulled off his glasses, scratching Mr Pattinson's forehead.

The key piece of prosecution evidence is Mr Simpson's thumbprint on the glasses. Mr Pattinson told police he heard a girl shouting: "No Daddy, no Daddy, no!" when Mr Simpson reached into the car. Mr Simpson's teenage son and daughter were in his vehicle at the time.

Yale Galanter, the defence attorney, gave a contrasting version of what happened. Both men got out of their vehicles and Mr Pattinson was holding his glasses in his left hand when Mr Simpson brushed against them, he said.

Mr Galanter also said Mr Pattinson pursued Mr Simpson, repeatedly honking his horn and flashing his lights. Mr Pattinson "gets out and starts screaming, cursing and letting Mr Simpson know how upset he is". The trial continues.

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