OJ in court for robbery trial decision

OJ Simpson will return to court today to discover whether he will stand trial over kidnapping and armed robbery charges.

OJ Simpson will return to court today to discover whether he will stand trial over kidnapping and armed robbery charges.

The former American football star and actor faces 12 charges over an incident involving the alleged theft of sports memorabilia at the Palace Station Casino in Las Vegas on September 13.

He faces the prospect of life in prison if convicted after a trial.

Witnesses will testify about the role of guns in the incident during today’s hearing at the Las Vegas Justice Court.

Simpson has maintained in interviews and through his lawyers that he never saw any guns, or asked anyone to bring them, when he and a group of men entered the hotel room in search of sports memorabilia.

However, two former co-defendants – Michael McClinton, 49, and Walter Alexander, 46 - have told authorities that Simpson not only saw guns, but suggested firearms be brought to the room where Simpson wanted to retrieve game balls, jerseys, photos and other memorabilia he said were his.

Judge Joe Bonaventure will decide whether there is enough evidence for Simpson, 60, and two other men to stand trial.

Alexander, of Mesa, Arizona, was taken into custody two days after the alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia from dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley.

Robert Dennis Rentzer, Alexander’s lawyer, said his client would “provide additional information over and beyond what he told police”.

Three men have since taken plea deals, leaving Simpson, of Miami, and Clarence “CJ” Stewart and Charles Ehrlich, both 53, facing the criminal charges.

Alexander pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, a felony, in a plea deal that could get him up to six years in prison. District Attorney David Roger has said prosecutors will seek a suspended sentence.

McClinton, 49, of Las Vegas, also took a plea deal and is expected to plead guilty to robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. He could get probation or up to 11 years in prison.

Police say McClinton wielded a gun and acted like a police officer after the men stormed into the room with Simpson.

Simpson has said he intended only to retrieve items that had been stolen from him by a former agent, including the suit he wore the day he was cleared of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, after a high-profile trial in 1995.

He has maintained his innocence over the 1994 killings.

Last week, the court heard from Fromong, collectibles broker Tom Riccio, and Charles Cashmore, another former co-defendant who took a plea deal in the case.

Whether Simpson knew guns were involved is a key issue.

Cashmore, 40, said he saw two men with guns during the confrontation, but that he heard Simpson say several times that he never saw a gun.

Cashmore also said he heard Simpson say he did not want to keep any memorabilia that was not his.

Cashmore is set to plead guilty to felony accessory to robbery, which could get him probation or up to five years in prison.

The incident occurred as Simpson’s book about the killings of his ex-wife and her friend, entitled If I Did It: Confessions Of The Killer, was published in the US.

In July, a federal bankruptcy judge awarded the rights to his book to Mr Goldman’s family to help satisfy a 38 million dollar (£19m) wrongful death judgment against Simpson.

Since then, the Goldman family has waged a decade-long campaign to track down and claim Simpson’s assets.

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