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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

OJ Simpson Jurors Say Secret Tapes Proved Case

LAS VEGAS (CN) - Jurors who convicted O.J. Simpson of armed robbery and kidnapping said prosecutors had a "weak case" that was made strong by secret recordings of last year's hotel room heist. They said they did not trust witnesses' testimony, but relied on the tapes to convict Simpson and Clarence Stewart.

Seven of the 12 jurors discussed the trial Sunday night at a news conference in the Clark County courtroom where they had delivered the verdicts late Friday.

One juror said she and the others did not trust the colorful crew of witnesses who testified against Simpson, including four former co-defendants who got plea deals in exchange for their testimony.

"We didn't really take any credibility of the witnesses whatsoever," she said. "We went first to ... videos, tapes, voice mails, everything that we had, because we felt like we could not rely on that witness testimony."

The jurors said they agreed that it was a "very weak case," but were confident of their verdict after listening half a dozen times to the secret tapes made by Thomas Riccio.

They said that listening to the tapes so many times helped them fill in missing dialogue that detectives, prosecutors and defense attorneys could not identify or agree on in transcripts.

One of those missed phrases convinced at least one juror, she said.

"'Piece in the hall ... piece in the hall ... piece in the hall ...' I heard it three times," the juror said, referring to Simpson talking to one of the gunmen.

Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass permitted the tapes as evidence, but refused to allow the transcripts.

Jurors did not use the transcripts while deliberating.

The jurors said that Simpson's acquittal of murder charges in 1995 had nothing to do with their decision.

"There's reports right now that we've had some kind of vendetta," one juror said. "That in no way had anything to do with this case."

They fired back at Simpson's attorneys, Yale Galanter and Gabe Grasso, who complained about the makeup of the jury of nine women and three men, none of them black.

"I think it's preposterous," one juror said. "They chose us. For them to tie in that there are too many women or they're not the right color is insulting. They're the ones who chose us for their jury."

The foreman denied that they timed their decision to coincide with the 13th anniversary of Simpson's acquittal for the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

"We were getting tired. I said, 'Let's stay until we get it done,'" one juror said.

As to why they convicted Stewart, a juror said: "He drove the car. He walked out with items."

Simpson, 61, was found guilty of all 12 counts. He remains behind bars until his Dec. 5 sentencing, where he faces the possibility of life in prison.

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