LAS VEGAS – The collectibles broker who arranged the confrontation between O.J. Simpson and two sports memorabilia dealers predicts the Nevada jury judging the armed robbery and kidnapping case against the former football star won't convict him.
"I feel there will be a hung jury," star prosecution witness Thomas Riccio said after both prosecutors and defense lawyers rested their cases Wednesday.
Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart face five years to life in prison if convicted of kidnapping, or mandatory prison time if convicted of armed robbery. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
"If you ask 12 people, half will say he's guilty and half will say he's not guilty," said Riccio, whose secret audio recordings of Simpson before, during and after a hotel room confrontation with the two memorabilia dealers provided key evidence for the prosecution.
Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass told the jury of nine women and three men they could begin deliberations as early as Thursday, after she provides instructions on the law and both sides make closing arguments.
Neither Simpson nor Stewart testified.
The defense introduced a voicemail recording of former co-defendant turned prosecution witness Walter Alexander offering to tailor his testimony to benefit Simpson if he was paid enough.
"If I get some help, I'll do whatever I can," said Alexander, whose message was played in a hushed courtroom.
"I can do quite a bit," said Alexander, one of four former co-defendants who pleaded guilty to reduced charges in return for their testimony against Simpson.
Simpson's close friend, Thomas Scotto, whose impending wedding brought Simpson and others to the Palace Station casino hotel room in Las Vegas last year, was asked what he thought after hearing the message.
"Basically, he was selling his testimony," Scotto said.
Lawyers for Stewart called only one witness. Stewart's cousin, Linda Lockheart, said Stewart was elsewhere, entertaining friends at the time Simpson and others gathered to plan the confrontation.
Simpson was acquitted in 1995 in Los Angeles of criminal charges that he murdered his ex-wife and her friend. Simpson was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case.