O.J. Simpson Prosecutor Needles Key Defense Witness on Alleged 'Hit' on Ex-Co-Defendant

A prosecutor vowed to badger a key witness in O.J. Simpson's defense about whether he wanted to put out a murder contract on a former co-defendant who testified against the fallen football star.

Simpson is on trial for an alleged armed robbery and kidnapping in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Before the witness, Simpson's close friend Thomas Scotto, began testimony, Clark County District Attorney David Roger told the judge he was going to ask Scotto whether he wanted to order a "hit" on the ex-co-defendant, Walter Alexander.

Alexander testified Sept. 24 that Simpson told him and another friend to carry guns when they went with Simpson to reclaim items allegedly stolen from two sports memorabilia dealers in a casino hotel room.

Charles Jones, a lawyer for Simpson's current co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart, also asked Scotto about allegations that a "couple of state witnesses" tried to extort payments from him in return for favorable testimony in the case.

Simpson and Stewart have pleaded not guilty to 12 criminal charges, including armed robbery and kidnapping. Each man could face five years to life in prison if convicted in the Sept. 13., 2007, confrontation.

It was Scotto's wedding that brought his best man Simpson and other men together last year around the hotel's pool, where prosecutors allege plans were made for the armed robbery of the sports memorabilia dealers, said to be peddling the former football star's mementoes.

Defense lawyers maintain that Simpson was just trying to retrieve personal belongings, family photos and heirlooms that had been stolen from him years ago.

Scotto, 46, a North Miami Beach, Fla., auto repair shop owner, served as go-between and banker for Simpson after the "Naked Gun" star's arrest Sept. 16, and again following his re-arrest in January when he was accused of violating terms of his bail release.

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Scotto, who was preparing for his wedding, did not accompany Simpson from the Palms resort pool to the alleged armed robbery in a Palace Station casino hotel room. But his name is heard on audio recordings played for the jury during the first 11 days of testimony in the case.

The prosecution rested Monday, and the courtroom was dark Tuesday for a scheduled day off. Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass said outside the presence of the jury that closing arguments could come as early as Thursday. The jury would then begin deliberations.

Simpson's lawyers told the judge that Scotto could be their last witness. Outside court, defense lawyers said no decisions had been made whether Simpson or Stewart would testify. Stewart's lawyers said they expect to call several witnesses.

Simpson's defense lawyers brought one of the alleged victims, Alfred Beardsley, back to the witness stand. The sports memorabilia dealer repeated that charges against Simpson should be dropped, and said again that he and Simpson had been "set up" by Thomas Riccio, the collectibles broker who arranged their hotel room meeting.

"Everything just smelled of a setup," Beardsley said.

Beardsley was among the prosecution's witnesses, who also included the four men who accompanied Simpson and Stewart to the confrontation and later took plea deals to plead guilty to lesser charges and testify against Simpson.

Acknowledged gunman Michael McClinton, 50, of Las Vegas, was the last prosecution witness Monday. He told the jury he brought a gun at Simpson's request and displayed it near his chest during the six-minute confrontation with Beardsley and memorabilia dealer Bruce Fromong.

Simpson claims he never asked anyone to bring guns and never saw guns in the room.