Las Vegas jury reaches verdict in Simpson case
By KEN RITTER
Associated Press Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Jurors in the O.J. Simpson trial reached a verdict Friday after working into the night, deliberating the fate of the former football star and a co-defendant accused of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a casino hotel room.
"We have a verdict," said Michael Sommermeyer, spokesman for the Clark County District Court. He said it would be read after all the defendants, lawyers and prosecutors arrived at the court.
The jury reached a decision after deliberating for more than 13 hours.
Simpson, 61, and a golfing buddy, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, 54, each face five years to life in prison if convicted of kidnapping, or mandatory prison time if convicted of armed robbery. They've pleaded not guilty to 12 charges, including conspiracy, coercion and assault with a deadly weapon.
Deliberations began 13 years to the day after Simpson was acquitted of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles.
The jury sent one note to the judge around 3 p.m. with what the court spokesman called a "procedural question."
Judge Jackie Glass responded with instructions to look at documents they had already been given, Sommermeyer said.
The jury of nine women and three men heard 12 days of testimony, capped by prosecutors' arguments Thursday that the Las Vegas case had its roots in the 1994 slayings.
Prosecutors alleged Simpson planned - and Stewart helped carry out - a plot to retrieve personal items that Simpson lost after squirreling them away to avoid turning them over to Goldman's family to satisfy part of a $33.5 million civil wrongful death judgment levied in 1997 by a California court.
Four men who accompanied Simpson, Stewart and a middle man to the Palace Station casino hotel for the Sept. 13, 2007, confrontation later pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution. Thomas Riccio, the man who arranged and secretly recorded the meeting, testified under immunity from prosecution.
Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galanter, told the jury the prosecution didn't prove Simpson was guilty in the criminal case that he said "has taken on a life of its own because of Mr. Simpson's involvement."
"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," Galanter said.
Stewart's lawyer, Brent Bryson, presented his client as the trial's forgotten man.
Since Sept. 15, the jury heard 22 often colorful witnesses - including seven of the nine people who were in the cramped hotel room. They listened to numerous replays of secret recordings made before, during and after the alleged robbery.
Neither Simpson nor Stewart testified, and jurors were instructed not to consider that when judging the case.
Glass kept a tight rein on the proceedings and rejected several mistrial motions. She read 41 legal instructions to the jurors and six alternates before the panel heard closing arguments.
AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report.