Published September 26, 2008
LAS VEGAS – Prosecutors in the O.J. Simpson armed robbery-kidnapping trial said they planned to rest their case Friday after testimony from a police investigator and the man who admitted bringing guns to a confrontation in a casino hotel room.
Testimony resumed with Detective Andy Caldwell telling the jury how Las Vegas police collected evidence after the Sept. 13, 2007, hotel room confrontation involving Simpson, five other men, a middle man and two sports memorabilia dealers.
Simpson is accused of robbing the dealers at gunpoint and keeping them from leaving the room.
Clark County District Attorney David Roger said late Thursday he expected to end the prosecution's case with testimony Friday from admitted gunman Michael McClinton.
McClinton, 50, a Las Vegas resident who used to work as a security guard, played a crucial role during the tense six-minute dispute in the cramped room at the Palace Station hotel-casino, according to testimony from some of the men who were there.
McClinton has acknowledged he brought two guns, keeping one and giving another to a friend, Walter Alexander, who told the jury earlier that he tucked it his in his waistband and left it there. The two men have said it was Simpson's idea to bring "some heat."
Alexander, former co-defendants Charles Ehrlich and Charles Cashmore, meeting middleman Thomas Riccio, and alleged victims Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley have described McClinton waving a handgun and shouting orders like a police officer while others carried away items the two memorabilia dealers had arrayed on the bed.
"Stand the (expletive) up, before it gets ugly in here!" says a voice that prosecutors allege was McClinton. "Bag this (expletive) up!"
McClinton testified during an evidentiary hearing that Simpson asked him to display his gun to intimidate Fromong and Beardsley.
Simpson's lawyers have suggested McClinton tailored his story to suit prosecutors after agreeing to plead guilty to reduced charges and testify against Simpson. McClinton awaits sentencing on robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery charges that could get him probation or up to 11 years in prison.
Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart have pleaded not guilty to 12 charges, including kidnapping, armed robbery, coercion and assault with a deadly weapon. They face up to life with possibility of parole if convicted of kidnapping, or mandatory prison time on the armed robbery charge.
Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass has struggled to keep jurors from being reminded of Simpson's infamous Los Angeles murder case, ruling that a witness could not mention the former football star's acquittal in the 1994 slaying of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.