November 15, 2007 in Nation/World

Simpson heading back to trial

Linda Deutsch Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

O.J. Simpson listens to Judge Joe Bonaventure on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

LAS VEGAS – O.J. Simpson must face trial on kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges stemming from a suspected sports memorabilia heist, a justice of the peace ruled Wednesday, despite fierce defense attacks that characterized prosecution witnesses as con artists and crooks out for a buck.

Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure ruled that all charges in the 12-count complaint would remain against Simpson and co-defendants Clarence “C.J.” Stewart and Charles “Charlie” Ehrlich. The case stemmed from a Sept. 13 confrontation in a casino hotel room from which Simpson and a group of men are accused of stealing items from two sports memorabilia dealers.

“This is what we expected,” Simpson said before he left the courtroom. “If I have any disappointment, it’s that I wish a jury was here. As always, I rely on the jury system.”

The prospect of Simpson again standing trial in the national spotlight was described by his own lawyer as “surreal.”

Outside the courthouse, attorney Yale Galanter argued again that the former football star was trying only to reclaim family heirlooms and that he believed no crime was committed.

“I have never been in a case where every witness had a financial motive, where every witness had a credibility problem,” Galanter said.

Bonaventure acknowledged that the testimony of the witnesses was an issue to be weighed by the court and that the defense had raised questions of “bought” testimony.

Kidnapping convictions could result in a life sentence with possibility of parole. Armed robbery convictions would require some time in prison.

The defendants were ordered to arraignment on Nov. 28.

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