LAS VEGAS – Jurors in O.J. Simpson's robbery-kidnap trial heard recordings Friday of police investigators chuckling over Simpson's troubles, referring to him with foul language and rejoicing at his impending arrest.
"You're just picking on him because you're mad about the verdict," said Lt. Clint Nichols, head of the police robbery division.
"Yup," responded crime scene analyst Michael Perkins.
In another exchange, Nichols said, "He's gonna get arrested."
"Who, who's gonna get arrested?" the analyst replied.
"O.J.," said Nichols.
"Oh, good," said Perkins.
Simpson's defense played the recordings, which were made as investigators gathered evidence at the Palace Station Casino Hotel only hours after a confrontation between Simpson, accompanied by a group of men, and sports memorabilia collectors who allegedly were robbed of items at gunpoint.
Testimony about the recording came as the prosecution was winding down its case. An admitted gunman, Michael McClinton, was expected to be prosecutors' last witness before the start of defense presentations.
The voices were captured on a digital recorder left running in the room by Thomas Riccio, the middleman who arranged the foray to reclaim Simpson memorabilia.
Defense attorney Gabriel Grasso showed jurors transcripts of the comments during testimony by Andy Caldwell, the lead detective on the case against Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart.
Caldwell acknowledged that the comments were made by Nichols and the crime scene analyst.
The recordings began with a section quoted earlier in the trial but never played for jurors. The defense offered a slightly different transcription of the words, which are muffled.
"This is great," Perkins said. "... California can't get it (expletive) done. Now we'll get it done."
It was previously transcribed as "California can't get him ... now we'll get him."
The investigators referred to Robert Shapiro and the late Johnnie L. Cochran, who were on the defense team that won Simpson's acquittal on murder charges in the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles.
The officers also chuckled over forensic evidence they will produce. Perkins said, "I guess he's gonna have to use Barry Scheck for this one."
Scheck was the lawyer who handled forensic evidence at Simpson's murder trial.
The investigators referred to Simpson as "a dirtbag" and used another expletive in describing him "with his bum knees and all."
They also acknowledged that Simpson had already talked to police and acknowledged that the items taken from the memorabilia dealers were his.
Caldwell acknowledged that Simpson called police almost immediately after the incident and agreed to talk to them.
"Yes, he's already confessed to havin' it," said Nichols. "Agreed to bring it back if need be. ... He told the cop that, which is not the brightest thing in the world to do."
"Yes, no kidding," laughed Perkins.
"You think after all his problems he would learn not to talk to anyone," Nichols laughed.
"No kidding. No kidding," said Perkins.
"So I'd also expect him not to show up for a (expletive) robbery to take some gear back," said Nichols.
The recording also included a reference to a Muhammad Ali glove being among the memorabilia taken.
"They always do it one gloves," Nichols commented.
"Hey, if the glove don't fit you must acquit," Perkins said, laughing.
Grasso pressed Caldwell to say what "they" referred to, implying he meant black people. But Caldwell said he didn't know.
The men in the recording said that other police personnel were already tailing Simpson to a nightclub where he was attending a party.
"Just waitin' for a phone call, we'll snatch him up," said Perkins.
It actually took three days before Simpson was arrested.
Prosecutors called Caldwell to the stand to identify surreptitious phone recordings of Simpson talking to his daughter Arnelle Simpson from the Clark County jail after he was arrested on Sept. 16, 2007.
O.J. Simpson said in the call that he had a "long talk" with memorabilia dealer Alfred Beardsley, and that Beardsley said he didn't want to press criminal charges.
O.J. Simpson told his daughter that Beardsley "told me he didn't want to go any further" with the case.
"If he drops his charges, that's half the battle," O.J. Simpson said, suggesting she contact Beardsley.
Arnelle Simpson promised to look for Beardsley's phone number, and ended the call saying, "Keep your spirit up, dad."
"The phone call added to my concern that Mr. Simpson was trying to contact victims in the case," Caldwell said. "He was trying to affect the outcome of the case."