O.J.'s co-defendant again loses bid to postpone trial


O.J. Simpson's co-defendant lost another bid Thursday to get the Nevada Supreme Court to delay or separate their kidnapping and armed robbery trial, due to begin with jury selection Monday.

"We are not satisfied that this court's intervention by way of extraordinary writ is warranted," Justice James Hardesty said in a two-page order rejecting an emergency motion filed hours earlier by Robert Lucherini, lawyer for Clarence "C.J." Stewart.

In his plea for the state high court to intervene, Lucherini shed light on a closed-door deposition last week by an FBI audio recording expert and a review of jury questionnaires last week by prosecutors, defense lawyers and Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass.

Lucherini said the court ruling spoke for itself.

Earlier, he told The Associated Press he wanted the court to stay the trial and sever the defendants based on "prejudicial answers" in the jury questionnaire.

Simpson's lawyers say they're ready for trial.

Simpson and Stewart face 12 felony charges including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in the Sept. 13, 2007, confrontation with sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas casino hotel room. Four other men who were with them that night have accepted plea deals and agreed to testify for the prosecution.

Simpson, 61, a former NFL star, film actor and advertising pitchman, maintains that he was trying to retrieve items that had been stolen from him, that he didn't ask anyone to bring guns and that he didn't know anyone in the room was armed.

Glass delayed the start of the trial once in April, and reset it for Sept. 8. She has since denied repeated requests by Lucherini to sever or postpone the trial, and a state Supreme Court panel last week upheld those rulings. On Wednesday, Glass issued an order prohibiting the release of the 26-page questionnaires completed by prospective jurors until a jury is seated.

"Out of the 500 jury questionnaires, 252 potential jurors were excluded," Lucherini said in his Thursday plea to the state high court.

"A significant number of those jurors excluded were because of their prejudice toward Stewart based upon his relationship with Simpson," he said. "Of the remaining 248 prospective jurors, it is unknown how many have not explicitly expressed their prejudice against Stewart."

Lucherini argues it will be impossible for Stewart, 54, a Simpson golfing buddy from North Las Vegas, to get a fair trial sitting at the defendant's table with Simpson.

Stewart's lawyer says he fears jurors will want to "correct a perceived miscarriage of justice" in Simpson's acquittal in the 1994 slaying his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles. Simpson was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case. He now lives in Miami.

The stakes are high. A kidnapping conviction carries the possibility of life in prison with the possibility of parole, and a robbery conviction would mean mandatory prison time.

Lucherini referred to the closed-door deposition by Kenneth Marr, an FBI forensic audio examiner, about the authenticity of recordings alleged to be of Simpson and others talking before confronting the two memorabilia dealers.

Glass sealed Marr's videotaped deposition until it can be shown to a jury.

 

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