OJ on trial again but judge tells jury: no revenge

The robbery and kidnap trial of O J Simpson's began in Las Vegas yesterday, with a small city of satellite trucks and an army of broadcast news crews on hand to report it.

Judge Jackie Glass opened the proceedings with a warning to prospective jurors to disregard Mr Simpson's well-known acquittal in the 1995 double-murder trial. This time Mr Simpson, 61, is being tried for his role in a Las Vegas hotel room confrontation that allegedly involved guns, stolen sports memorabilia and the suit he wore at his 1995 acquittal.

If convicted, the former American footballer could be sent away for life. Judge Glass rebuffed a request from Yale Galanter, Mr Simpson's defence lawyer to ask the jurors if they thought he was a murderer. Then, when the panel was brought in for questioning she delivered a stern lecture: "If you are here thinking you are going to punish Mr Simpson for what happened in Los Angeles in 1995, this is not the case for you," she said. "If you're looking to become famous because of your service in this case, write a book, then this is not the case for you."

Mr Simpson faces 12 charges stemming from the confrontation last September during which he and several gun-toting associates allegedly left with pillow cases stuffed full of sports memorabilia. Mr Simpson later claimed he was repossessing items stolen from his own house. The charges against Mr Simpson and Clarence Stewart, include kidnapping and armed robbery. Either one could see him sent to jail for life in the state of Nevada.

Yesterday's proceedings were to winnow out a dozen jurors along with six alternates to decide Mr Simpson's fate. Acutely aware of the publicity surrounding the case, District Judge Glass intended to trim the pool from 248 to around 40 who will then be questioned by both sides.

Judge Glass said "a significant issue" is whether prospective jurors who disagreed with the 1995 verdict can "put aside your feelings about that verdict".

"I mean really, truly, folks," Glass said. "I'm not kidding around. Can you put that aside and understand that the case we are trying here and the info you're going to hear about here is totally separate from that case?"

Mr Simpson and his associates are accused of storming a room at the Palace Station Hotel-Casino to retrieve memorabilia, much of it related to the former football star's sporting career. The items were being held by two collectibles dealers, Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley who had come to the hotel hoping to sell them.

Mr Simpson claimed he did not realise two of the men with him had guns. He also says he did not see them pull out their weapons. Four of the five men who accompanied Mr Simpson to the casino – Charles Cashmore, Walter "Goldie" Alexander, Michael "Spencer" McClinton and Charles Ehrlich – have struck plea deals and will testify for the prosecution in return for reduced prison sentences.

According to Mr Fromong, Mr Simpson and his associates took hundreds of collectibles from the careers of various notable American sports figures. Judge Glass said she is concerned some juror's judgment may be clouded because they admire the former athlete too much.

Mr Simpson is a football Hall of Fame inductee. He was a comic film actor and advertising pitchman before the 1994 double murder trial. "Is there anybody here who's such a fan of Mr Simpson that you wouldn't be able to be a fair and impartial juror in this case?" the judge asked. Two potential jurors could not put aside what they knew about the 1995 murder case and were dismissed. A dozen others were dismissed because of hardship. In 2006, Simpson wrote a book called If I Did It, which set out how he might have murdered his wife, had he been so inclined. But the book was withdrawn and pulped by HarperCollins shortly before being published.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game