LAS VEGAS – A judge Thursday scheduled a hearing next month for prosecutors to present evidence against O.J. Simpson and five other men accused of kidnapping and robbing two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint.
Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure Jr. ordered the defendants and their lawyers to attend the hearing on Nov. 8 and possibly the next day.
Rejecting a request from one of the defendant's lawyers for a later date, Bonaventure said, "I have to consider the state, co-defendants, witnesses (and) the general public."
Clark County District Attorney David Roger did not oppose the date. He could present evidence behind closed doors to a grand jury before Nov. 8 instead of making it public.
A hearing would allow defense attorneys to cross-examine each witness and present their own witnesses, while a grand jury would not. At the hearing's conclusion, the judge would be asked whether to bind the case over for trial in state court.
Simpson's local lawyer, Gabriel Grasso, confirmed outside court that Simpson will attend the hearing with his Miami-based attorney, Yale Galanter.
The former football star and his co-defendants are accused of holding memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley at gunpoint Sept. 13 in a hotel room and taking boxes of autographed footballs and other collectibles. Simpson has claimed some of the items belonged to him and he was retrieving them.
Each man faces 10 charges including kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a weapon, burglary and conspiracy. The kidnapping charge carries the possibility of life in prison if convicted.
Simpson, 60, faces an 11th felony charge, coercion, stemming from allegations that he took a cell phone from Fromong.
At the court hearing, a lawyer entered a not guilty plea on behalf of one of the co-defendants, Clarence Stewart, 53, of Las Vegas.
The judge made other moves that consolidate the defendants' cases, canceling an arraignment and two preliminary hearings for three of the accused men.