LAS VEGAS (CN) – It was an action-packed first week for jurors in O.J. Simpson’s burglary and kidnapping trial. “Even the court’s tired today,” Clark County Court Judge Jackie Glass said on Friday afternoon, as she yawned and stretched. The judge added, “I can’t believe I just admitted that.”
Friday began early for jurors they were bused to the Palace Station hotel on a secret tour of the room where Simpson, his co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart and several other men allegedly hijacked a pair of sports memorabilia dealers.
The jury spent the rest of the afternoon listening to secret recordings made before, during and after the alleged holdup. They wore headphones and followed along with transcripts of the oftentimes inaudible recordings.
In one of the recordings made during the Sept. 13, 2007 incident, Simpson was heard shouting, “Don’t let nobody out of this room. Motherfuckers. Think you can steal my shit and sell it.”
Tom Riccio, the memorabilia broker who made the secret recordings and who set up the meeting between Simpson, Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley, told District Attorney Chris Owens that everything was going according to plan until a gun came out.
“This is overkill,” he recalled thinking. “They didn’t have to do this.”
Riccio said he “was lying (his) ass off” when he was recorded, trying to persuade Beardsley and Promong that he hadn’t set them up.
“I was saying whatever came to my mind to calm them down and make them think I wasn’t in on it … to get them to not jump me,” he said.
In a recording of a telephone conversation after the incident, Simpson tried to reassure Riccio that the barrage of media requests he had received will all blow over. “Monday they’ll talk about it and then it (will) be gone. I’ve been through it, trust me.”
Simpson and Stewart face 12 charges, including armed robbery, kidnapping, assault and coercion. If convicted, they could get life in prison.
Simpson’s attorney, Yale Galanter, has maintained that his client went to the hotel to retrieve personal belongings that had been stolen from him.