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October 1st, 2008
01:14 PM ET

Key Witnesses against O.J. Accused of Extortion

Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

10:45a PT
O.J. Smpson's friend testified Wednesday that two former co-defendants in the case tried to extort money from him.

Tom Scotto told the jury that alleged gunmen in the kidnapping and robbery trial, Michael McClinton and Walter Alexander, wanted 50 thousand dollars in exchange for testimony favorable to Simpson.

McClinton and Alexander made plea deals with prosecutors that could result in them receiving no prison time.

According to Scotto, he knew McClinton was a "street thug."

The witness testified McClinton threatened him saying "we (Scotto and Simpson) better come up with 50 thousand dollars or else."

Scotto also said an angry McClinton warned "I'll shoot everybody up."

Scotto owns an auto shop in Florida and was in Las Vegas last year to get married, when Simpson was arrested here on kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges.

7:50a PT

O.J. Simpson's close friend Tom Scotto is expected to testify for the defense today in the armed robbery and kidnapping trial.

Simpson arrived minutes ago with his lawyers who indicated Scotto could be on the stand for "a long time."

Simpson traveled to Las Vegas last year to attend Scotto's wedding, but was arrested before the ceremony with five other men involved in a sting at the Palace Station Hotel to recover sports memorabilia the ex-football star says was his.

Defense lawyers are expected to ask Scotto about whether former codefendants in the case allegedly suggested to him they could give favorable testimony to Simpson, if they got "help," meaning money.

The defense team for C.J. Stewart plans to call five witnesses.

September 29th, 2008
06:30 PM ET

Witness: Simpson was "set up"

Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

The O.J. Simpson trial adjourned until Wednesday morning in observance of the Jewish Holiday, but not before "set up" was again uttered from the witness stand.

Alfred Beardsley, in handcuffs and prison garb, reiterated that he thought Simpson was "set up" in the alleged armed robbery and kidnapping at the Palace Station Hotel.

Beardsley was recalled by the defense and has maintained he was not a victim of the alleged robbery to get sports memorabilia.

Beardsley was imprisoned for a parole violation.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • O.J. Simpson Trial • Paul Vercammen • T1
September 29th, 2008
04:32 PM ET

Defense at O.J. trial unveils witness list

Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

The defense in the O.J. Simpson kidnapping and armed robbery trial tipped off which witnesses it may soon begin calling.

Simpson defense attorney Yale Galanter revealed in open court that four of his witnesses include Las Vegas police officers Rod Hunt and C. Tucker.

Hunt previously testified for the prosecution.

The Simpson defense team will also call Simpson's close friend Tom Scotto.

FULL POST

September 29th, 2008
02:07 PM ET

O.J. Trial: Secret recordings

Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

Jurors in the O.J. Simpson armed robbery trial strained Monday morning to hear the secret recording made by alleged gunman Michael McClinton.

Simpson defense attorney Gabe Grasso replayed the tape in cross examination and questioned the reliability of a transcript of the recording.

One of the most disputed interpretations of the recording, did Simpson say "you didn't pull your piece (gun) in the hall?"

McClinton hid the tape recorder and tried to capture Simpson talking at a restaurant after the sting at the Palace Station Hotel.
FULL POST

September 26th, 2008
04:34 PM ET

Were Vegas Cops out to get O.J?

Editor’s Note:

O.J. Simpson is on trial for robbery and kidnapping charges nearly a year after police arrested him in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room last September 13 to recover sports memorabilia that Simpson said belonged to him. They say at least two men with Simpson had guns as they robbed two sports memorabilia dealers. The following dispatches come from our Paul Vercammen covering the trial.

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Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

Were Vegas Cops out to get O.J?

That's what his defense team wants you to believe.

And on cross examination of lead detective Andy Caldwell Friday, defense lawyer Gabe Grasso was able to play eyebrow raising secret recordings after the alleged armed robbery.

The recording of police in the room contains expletives and unflattering remarks seemingly about Simpson.

FULL POST

September 26th, 2008
02:49 PM ET

O.J. Trial: All white jury?

Editor’s Note:

O.J. Simpson is on trial for robbery and kidnapping charges nearly a year after police arrested him in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room last September 13 to recover sports memorabilia that Simpson said belonged to him. They say at least two men with Simpson had guns as they robbed two sports memorabilia dealers. The following dispatches come from our Paul Vercammen covering the trial.

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Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

10:26a PT

The Clark County Court information office reports, the O.J. Simpson jury is made up of 11 white jurors and one female "hispanic juror of Mexican decent."

The information was derived from looking at the juror questionnaires, according to court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer.

Reports of the panel being "all white" had been called into question and CNN and other news organizations had been pressing the court to reveal details of the jurors make up from the questionnaires.

The main panel is made up of nine women and three men.

The alternate panel includes a Black male and a Black female.

September 26th, 2008
11:20 AM ET

O.J. Trial: "All is sad in Mudville"

Editor’s Note:

O.J. Simpson is on trial for robbery and kidnapping charges nearly a year after police arrested him in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room last September 13 to recover sports memorabilia that Simpson said belonged to him. They say at least two men with Simpson had guns as they robbed two sports memorabilia dealers. The following dispatches come from our Paul Vercammen covering the trial.

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Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

7:55a PT

O.J. Simpson entered the courthouse in Las Vegas Friday for what's expected to be an all out attack on him from the witness stand.

The prosecution in the Simpson armed robbery and kidnapping trial is looking for one of its final witnesses, gunman Michael "Spencer" McClintion, to blast away at the celebrity defendant.

Witnesses in the case say McClinton pulled a gun and threatened victims in the alleged armed robbery at the Palace Station Hotel.

The prosecution is looking for McClinton to testify he was simply following a plan laid out by Simpson.

The defense has maintained Simpson knew nothing about guns and had no control over McClinton heard swearing and screaming and during the secret audio recording of the incident.

When Simpson arrived at the courthouse Friday, he said "all is sad in Mudville, mighty USC struck out."

Simpson was alluding to his alma mater's stunning loss Thursday night to Oregon State in a nationally televised college football game.

September 25th, 2008
07:37 PM ET

O.J. Trial: Beardsley's hate fest

Editor’s Note:

O.J. Simpson is on trial for robbery and kidnapping charges nearly a year after police arrested him in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room last September 13 to recover sports memorabilia that Simpson said belonged to him. They say at least two men with Simpson had guns as they robbed two sports memorabilia dealers. The following dispatches come from our Paul Vercammen covering the trial.

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Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

4:15p PT

Alfred Beardsley called his arch enemy Tom Riccio a con man, a rat and a knucklehead and that was just for starters.
   
What the defense team hopes is more damaging, the afternoon witness called into question the authenticity of a secret recording Riccio made during the alleged O.J. Simpson armed robbery in Las Vegas.
   
"It's a work of art," Bearsley testified.
    
Beardsley said he could not authenticate the recording and implied it was doctored.
    
"Mr. Riccio's conduct immediately after was suspicious," Bearsley testified.
   
"He took a recording with him back to L.A where they have nothing but production houses that can change or alter the recording to his liking."     

Beardsley is suing Riccio in civil court and has testified Riccio has counter sued.

Riccio has called Beardsley criminally insane and has said he burned him in a prior business dealing.

Bearsley is currently imprisoned on a parole violation that his lawyer says stems from him trying to contact Riccio through a third party.

Beardsley stated he did not want to testify in the Simpson armed robbery trial.

He added that Simpson was targeted by Riccio.

Beardsley said he is not a victim.

September 25th, 2008
06:36 PM ET

O.J. Trial: "The lowest expectations of America"

Editor’s Note:

O.J. Simpson is on trial for robbery and kidnapping charges nearly a year after police arrested him in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room last September 13 to recover sports memorabilia that Simpson said belonged to him. They say at least two men with Simpson had guns as they robbed two sports memorabilia dealers. The following dispatches come from our Paul Vercammen covering the trial.

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Former O.J. Simpson agent Mike Gilbert points to Simpson as he testifies during Simpson's trial.
Former O.J. Simpson agent Mike Gilbert points to Simpson as he testifies during Simpson's trial.

Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

Former O.J. Simpson agent Mike Gilbert testified briefly Thursday that he was given sports memorabilia by the ex football star.

Judge Jackie Glass limited Gilbert's testimony to extremely narrow discourse about receiving footballs and related material linked to Simpson allegedlly masterminding an armed robbery last year.

But outside the courtroom, Gilbert sounded off.

"This (Simpson) is a really bad guy who has lived down to the lowest expectations of America."
Gilbert went on to say that Simpson was given a second chance in life by being acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, but did nothing with the opprtunity.

"Everything from drug use to the way he talks to his kids," Gilbert said leaving the courthouse.
Gilbert also said he was not concerned with his limited testimony Thursday in the current robbery case, but is "more concerned that the State of Nevada get a fair trial."

September 25th, 2008
02:23 PM ET

Another onlooker ejected

Editor’s Note:

O.J. Simpson is on trial for robbery and kidnapping charges nearly a year after police arrested him in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room last September 13 to recover sports memorabilia that Simpson said belonged to him. They say at least two men with Simpson had guns as they robbed two sports memorabilia dealers. The following dispatches come from our Paul Vercammen covering the trial.

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Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

10:54AM PT

A middle-aged man was ejected from the courtroom in the O.J. Simpson armed robbery and kidnapping trial after he took a step toward the witness stand.

Courtroom Marshals said the man in the gallery walked up and said I have a question.

While being escorted in handcuffs to the elevator, the man said "yes, I realize now I crossed the line."

He is the second person in the gallery ejected from the courtroom since the trial began.

On deck to testify is Simpson’s former manager, Mike Gilbert. Gilbert has dealt in Simpson memorabilia and his name has come up occasionally in testimony.

Simpson and Gilbert have had a falling out. Gilbert wrote the damning book, "How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder: The Shocking Inside Story of Violence, Loyalty, Regret and Remorse."

In the book, Gilbert alleged that a a groggy Simpson, high on marijuana, confessed to killing his ex-wife after he was acquitted. He also claims that he helped his former friend wiggle out of the murder charges by suggesting how to bloat his hands so they wouldn't fit the notorious bloody gloves.

None of this will come in at the trial, though, because Judge Jackie Glass has not be allowing testimony about Simpson’s previous criminal and civil trials at the armed robbery trial.

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