Tag Archives: O.J. Simpson

Emotions connect old OJ acquittal, new conviction

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jurors had been told to ignore what they knew about O.J. Simpson’s past, but for many observers, the line connecting the former NFL star’s murder acquittal last decade and his new conviction for robbing memorabilia peddlers couldn’t have been clearer.

 

The attorney for the family of Ronald Goldman — who was killed along with Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in Los Angeles in 1994 — said he thought his hounding of Simpson for years to collect a $33.5 million wrongful death judgment pushed him to a desperate gambit to recover personal items he had lost.

“We drove him into that room to grab the sports memorabilia before we could seize the stuff,” said David Cook, who represents Goldman’s father, Fred. “Going to jail for beating Fred Goldman out of footballs and family mementos. Is this closure for Fred Goldman? No. Is this closure for America? Yes.”

Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter said Saturday, the day after Simpson and Clarence “C.J.” Stewart were convicted of all 12 charges against them in the hotel room confrontation, that the Las Vegas jury was “on an agenda” to make up for Simpson’s murder acquittal. The two face up to life in prison.

“This was just payback,” Galanter said.

“A lynching from the first second to the end,” agreed Thomas Scotto, a close Simpson friend who testified and was overcome by emotion in the courtroom after the verdicts were read. “It’s a total injustice.”

Scotto later told reporters he would remain in Las Vegas to seek out witnesses and show they were forced into their testimony.

“I need these witnesses to come forward and start telling the truth,” he said.

The case against Simpson was won the moment the jury was chosen, according to the consultant who helped prosecutors pick the panel.

“That was the best possible jury prosecutors could ever have,” said Howard Varinsky, who drafted a questionnaire for the prosecution that formed the basis of a survey used to cull 12 jurors and six alternates from a pool of 500 prospects.

“I was surprised that we got all the counts,” he said Saturday. “But it wasn’t an accident that the jury wound up looking like that.”

Whatever the jury was thinking, Fred Goldman praised the verdict.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to see the potential that he could serve the rest of his life in jail where the scumbag belongs,” he told CNN.

Brown Simpson’s relatives said in a statement that they want to be left alone as they “work through many mixed emotions.” They said they are primarily concerned about the children from the marriage, Sydney and Justin.

The jury that convicted Simpson consisted of three men and nine women, including one woman who identified herself as Hispanic, a court spokesman said. The jury contained no blacks, the race of both defendants.

Jurors declined interviews and avoided the media after the verdicts were read.

According to jury questionnaires released Saturday, five of the 12 jurors wrote that they disagreed with the 1995 verdict that cleared Simpson of murder. Most others claimed to be uncertain or did not answer the question.

Redacted versions of the questionnaires were made public by Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass after The Associated Press and Stephens Media LLC, owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, petitioned for their release.

Prosecutors have declined to comment throughout the trial.

Lawyers and jury analysts recalled that prosecutors succeeded in removing two black jurors from the final panel.

Varinsky insisted that Simpson and Stewart got fair trials, saying jurors answered several questions attesting to their ability to set aside their feelings about the Los Angeles case.

But he acknowledged the questions also reminded jurors about that case.

AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch and writers Kathleen Hennessey in Las Vegas and Christina Hoag in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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13 years on, O.J. Simpson’s luck runs out in Vegas

Sat Oct 4, 2008 3:14pm EDT 

By Dan Whitcomb

 

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LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – O.J. Simpson, who more than a decade ago stunned much of America by beating murder charges, found himself in a Las Vegas jail on Saturday, facing the possibility of life in prison after a jury found him guilty of kidnapping and robbery in a dramatic late-night verdict.

 

The former football star who walked away from his “Trial of the Century” a free man amid widespread views he had stabbed and slashed his ex-wife and her friend to death, was handcuffed and led to jail on Friday night after he and a co-defendant were convicted of robbing a pair of sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas hotel.

 

A court clerk quickly rattled off a dozen guilty verdicts against him and co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart that jurors returned after 13 straight hours of deliberations, 13 years to the day after his October 3, 1995 acquittal in Los Angeles.

 

Simpson’s family members were left sobbing in the front row of the courtroom and his sister, Carmelita Durio, was treated by paramedics after collapsing.

 

Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass summarily rejected requests by lawyers for Simpson, 61, and Stewart, 54, that they be allowed to remain free until the December 5 sentencing.

 

Both men, who were found guilty of conspiracy, burglary, kidnapping, robbery and assault, face mandatory minimum penalties of five years in prison but could end up with life terms.

 

FEW SCREAMING HEADLINES

 

In contrast to the murder case which captivated much of the world, divided Americans sharply along racial lines and ushered in a new age of celebrity journalism, Simpson’s three-week Las Vegas trial drew few screaming headlines and none of the circus-like atmosphere.

 

But prosecutors told jurors during opening statements that the armed confrontation at the Palace Station hotel and casino grew out of grudges Simpson had nursed since his murder trial and civil case, and suggested that they could right a wrong by convicting him.

 

“You will be able to write that final chapter, the chapter of arrogance and hypocrisy and that will be the true verdict. The verdict you can feel good about,” prosecutor Christopher Owens said at the time.

 

Witnesses said the former star athlete once known as “The Juice” and five sidekicks stormed into Room 1203 of the Palace Station and held sports memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley at gunpoint, making off with thousands of dollars in collectibles.

 

Defense lawyers argued that much of the property belonged to Simpson and that he wasn’t aware that two of his cohorts were carrying guns. Four of Simpson’s accomplices that day agreed to plead guilty and testified against him at the three-week trial.

 

Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were found stabbed and slashed to death on June 12, 1994.

 

Simpson was quickly charged and after a trial that lasted for more than a year was acquitted on October 3, 1995.

 

A civil court jury later found Simpson liable for the deaths and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages to the victims’ families, a judgment that remains largely unpaid.

 

(Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles, editing by Vicki Allen)

It’s Not “If” O.J. Did It—It’s How (Book)

You may think you know the truth about O.J. Simpson and the murders that gripped a nation—but prepare to be shocked.
After twenty years as O.J.’s sports agent and trusted confidant, Mike Gilbert is breaking his silence, revealing what really happened that fateful night, and how he helped O.J. get away with the crime of the century.
How I Helped O.J. Get Away with Murder: The Shocking Inside Story of Violence, Loyalty, Regret, and Remorse is unlike anything you’ve read before; Gilbert puts you into O.J.’s inner circle every step of the way—from the Bronco “chase” to the infamous trial to life after the murders.
Told with searing candor and palpable guilt, Gilbert reveals how O.J.’s closest friends and allies concocted elaborate cover-ups to help Simpson build a life without consequences. He divulges unknown stories and facts that even the media and O.J.’s former “Dream Team” don’t know, including:
O.J.’s late-night confession
How Gilbert was responsible for ensuring the infamous glove did not fit O.J.’s hand
How O.J. hides his money and assets to keep from paying the Goldman family
Why Gilbert defended O.J. for so long, and what finally convinced him to come clean—it has nothing to do with sympathy or “cashing in”
Brutally honest and achingly tragic, this book leaves no one’s reputation intact—not even Gilbert’s. But it casts a glaring light on how celebrity can corrupt, how justice can be manipulated, and how loyalty can be perverted. We watched the nightmare unfold, but Gilbert lived it—and he has the scars and memories to prove it.
“I want you to know what happened, why it happened, and how it happened. I want you to see us as real people. You are free to judge me however you wish….We all live in fear of the whole truth being told, because once it is, everybody’s ghosts start to come out. We are all guilty of something. I’ll start with myself—I am guilty of a whole lot. But you have to take the whole journey with me, not just tune in when the saga began for the rest of the country. While the public was watching this unfold, we were actually living it.”