OJ Simpson again walked free from a Las Vegas jail today, hours after a judge blistered him for “arrogance or ignorance” for breaking bail terms in a robbery case.
The former NFL star posted bond and was released from jail just after 11pm local time. He walked out by himself and quickly got into a white Mercedes and was driven away without comment to the dozen members of the news media on hand.
Earlier in the day, with his hands cuffed at his waist and a defeated expression on his face, Simpson, 60, listened to a lecture from Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass as she doubled his bail to $250,000 (€171,000).
“I don’t know, Mr Simpson, what the heck you were thinking, or maybe that’s the problem – you weren't,” Ms Glass said.
Simpson’s lawyer, Yale Galanter, said before Simpson’s release that the former football star would post the deed to his home.
Simpson had been ordered to have no contact with co-defendants or witnesses after he was freed on bail in September on charges of orchestrating the armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers at a hotel room.
Wednesday’s brief custody hearing was called because Simpson mentioned co-defendant Clarence “CJ” Stewart while leaving a sputtering, foul-mouthed phone message two months ago for his bail bondsman.
“I just want, want CJ to know that … I’m tired of this (expletive),” Simpson said, according to a transcript. “Fed up with (expletives) changing what they told me. All right?”
Though there was no indication that Mr Stewart received the message, prosecutor Chris Owens suggested it was threatening. The judge merely said she did not like the tone.
“I don’t know if it’s just arrogance. I don’t know if it’s ignorance,” she said. “But you’ve been locked up at the Clark County Detention Centre since Friday because of arrogance or ignorance – or both.”
Simpson, 60, was picked up on Friday in Florida and taken back to Nevada for violating terms of his release.
Mr Galanter stipulated during the hearing that Simpson made the call, though he insisted to reporters that Simpson was not trying to contact the co-defendant. In court, the lawyer did not contest the issue.
“I think you need to pick and choose your battles carefully,” Mr Galanter said. “I needed to ensure my client would go home.”
Ms Glass told Simpson to post his bond, go back to Florida and return on April 7 for his trial in an episode strange even by Las Vegas standards.
Simpson was accused of leading a group of men to a hotel room where memorabilia dealers were peddling collectibles associated with Simpson, including the suit he wore the day he was acquitted in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. He said he wanted to retrieve family heirlooms and photographs, including one of him with former FBI Director J Edgar Hoover.
The memorabilia dealers claimed guns were pulled. The man who arranged the meeting made an audio tape of the incident, and one of the dealers contacted a syndicated TV show before calling police. It was not the first brush with law enforcement for most of the men in the room.
Simpson, Mr Stewart and Charles Ehrlich pleaded not guilty on November 28 to kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, coercion and conspiracy charges. An armed robbery conviction carries mandatory prison time. A kidnapping conviction could bring a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
Three other former co-defendants have pleaded guilty to lesser charges and testified against Simpson.
Mr Galanter said he was ordering his client to talk to no-one but him and co-counsel Gabriel Grasso.