OJ Simpson and two co-defendants are expected to plead not guilty today to 12 charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room.
The former American football star and his lawyers contend that no guns were displayed and that he intended only to retrieve items that had been stolen from him, including photographs, football awards and the suit he wore the day he was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Prosecutors allege the heist in Las Vegas netted tens of thousands of dollars of sports collectibles that bore no connection to Simpson.
Simpson, 60, of Miami, Clarence “CJ” Stewart and Charles “Charlie” Ehrlich were bound over for trial this month after a preliminary hearing, which featured testimony from witnesses and three former co-defendants who took plea deals in return for their testimony.
Defence attorneys lost a bid during the preliminary hearing to get any charges dismissed, despite claims they were based on accounts by con artists and crooks.
Simpson’s attorney, Yale Galanter, said today’s arraignment should be brief.
“If this goes like all other standard arraignments, it will last about five minutes,” Galanter said.
But he added: “There’s nothing in this case that has been standard.”
Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass will juggle schedules for prosecutors, defense lawyers and herself in picking a trial date.
Galanter said he would seek a date “sometime next year” but declined to be more specific.
Defence lawyers may challenge an amended complaint filed on Monday listing Stewart and Ehrlich as possible witnesses, but not Simpson.
Attorneys for Stewart and Ehrlich did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
A spokesman for Clark County prosecutor David Roger said that co-defendants are routinely listed as possible witnesses in criminal cases and that Simpson’s name would be added to the list.
“It was a clerical oversight,” spokesman Dan Kulin said.
The new document makes no changes in the charges against the three men but drops former co-defendant Michael McClinton as a defendant. McClinton – who pleaded guilty to reduced felony charges and testified that he took guns to the Sept. 13 confrontation with sports collectibles dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley – is on the list of 78 potential trial witnesses.
Neither Stewart, 53, a Simpson friend and golfing buddy from North Las Vegas, nor Ehrlich, 53, a friend from Miami, are accused of wielding weapons during the suspected heist.