Attorneys for Simpson co-defendants object to amended complaint by Rogers

Attorneys for three co-defendants in the O.J. Simpson robbery case objected Wednesday in Justice Court against an amended complaint by District Attorney David Roger.

The newest version of the complaint adds a coercion with use of a deadly weapon charge against the defendants. Defense attorneys argue that Roger filed the document past the 5 p.m. Friday deadline for written motions in the Justice Court case.

"I don't think it's fair play," said John T. Moran Jr., who represents Simpson co-defendant Charles Ehrlich.

But Roger told Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure that prosecutors have a right to file a new criminal complaint at any time and can do so even during the preliminary hearing.

"As witnesses came forward we're getting a clearer picture of what happened," Roger said in court.

Simpson and his co-defendants, who were not present in court Wednesday, are accused of storming a Palace Station hotel room Sept. 13 and, at gunpoint, hauling away sports memorabilia from collectors Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley. Simpson claimed some of the memorabilia belonged to him.

Moran argued the new charging document was based on two former codefendants, Walter Alexander and Charles Cashmore, "who have decided to flip" and testify against Simpson and his codefendants in exchange for pleading guilty to low level felonies.

With the preliminary hearing date of Nov. 8 looming, Moran said the amended complaint filed after the deadline violated Ehrlich's and the others' right to due process.

The amended criminal complaint includes a second felony charge of coercion against Simpson and two new coercion charges each against the other three defendants: Clarence Stewart, Michael McClinton and Ehrlich. Each now faces a coercion charge for preventing Fromong from calling 911 and for taking Beardsley's baseball cap and glasses at gunpoint.

Attorneys for Stewart and McClinton echoed Moran's objections.

Simpson's local attorney Gabriel Grasso said he received a copy of the new complaint Friday.

He said he believed the new complaint indicates a change in prosecutors' theory to pursue the counts because it names Thomas Riccio as the decoy who enticed Beardsley and Fromong to Palace Station under the pretense that he had lined up an interested buyer for the memorabilia.

Grasso declined to elaborate. In the original complaint, Riccio's name does not appear and he is listed only as an unidentified "confederate."

"He's not even charged," Grasso said.

The new complaint also says Simpson and Stewart persuaded other conspirators to lie about the use of firearms at the hotel.

Simpson has said there were no firearms at the hotel.