LAS VEGAS – O.J. Simpson's lawyer on Tuesday declared the former football star all set for jury selection to begin next week in his trial on allegations of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint almost a year ago.
"Ready for trial, judge," Simpson lawyer Gabriel Grasso said during the last scheduled pretrial hearing.
But Robert Lucherini, lawyer for Simpson's only remaining co-defendant, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, made yet another pitch to sever or postpone the trial, a request Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass denied. He told the judge he would ask the Nevada Supreme Court to reconsider its denial of his request for a separate or delayed trial.
Glass said a pool of 500 would-be jurors was reduced to about 250 after defense lawyers and prosecutors spent several hours behind closed doors Aug. 25 reviewing answers provided on 26-page questionnaires.
"We did excuse most of the people, if not all of the people, who expressed extreme opinions about the parties, in an effort to have a very efficient jury selection process," Glass said.
Jury selection is to begin Monday, and the judge said she expected to complete it within a week. The trial is expected to last as long as five weeks.
Clark County District Attorney David Roger, who earlier submitted a list of almost 80 witnesses, said Tuesday that he expects to call about 25.
Grasso said he and fellow defense attorney Yale Galanter planned to call those witnesses, plus perhaps three more.
Lucherini said he would probably call six or seven witnesses on Stewart's behalf.
Simpson and Stewart have pleaded not guilty to 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in a September 2007 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel.
A kidnapping conviction could get them life in prison with the possibility of parole. A robbery conviction would mean mandatory prison time.
Four other men who accompanied Simpson and Stewart have accepted plea deals, pleaded guilty to felony charges and agreed to testify for the prosecution.
A state high court panel last week turned down Lucherini's appeal of Glass' earlier refusals to delay or sever Stewart's trial from Simpson's.
Lucherini argues it will be impossible for Stewart to get a fair trial sitting at the defendant's table with Simpson, a former NFL star, film actor and advertising pitchman. Simpson was acquitted in the 1995 slayings in Los Angeles of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman but later found liable in a civil case.