O.J. has left the city.
On a whirlwind Wednesday that began with his court appearance in shackles, the infamous football great posted bail, walked out of jail and had flown home to Florida before the night ended. The departure ended O.J. Simpson's memorable visit to Sin City, which landed him back in the news and on the wrong side of the law.
At a news conference outside the courthouse Wednesday morning, Simpson's longtime lawyer said his client was looking forward to getting out of jail and heading home.
"He's extremely relieved. This has been a very harrowing experience for him," Yale Galanter said shortly after the hearing during which bail was set at $125,000.
Several hours later, Simpson emerged from a back door at the Clark County Detention Center, where he had spent the past three days since his arrest. Wearing a powder blue Damiani Italian suit that his family had delivered in court, Simpson ignored the media throng on the sidewalk and lumbered to a waiting silver Dodge sedan driven by Galanter. The car motored down Interstate 15 to the Palms while news helicopters stalked it from above.
After a short stop at the Palms, Simpson slipped out a back door and headed to McCarran International Airport, where police escorted him through the terminal and onto a plane bound for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Wayne Hipp was returning from a business trip near Dallas when he crossed paths with Simpson at the airport.
"That's all they're talking about in Texas is the O.J. arrest in Las Vegas," he said.
Simpson boarded his U.S. Airways flight ahead of other passengers and was in the air by 4:30 p.m.
Simpson might be gone for now, but he will be back to face the robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy charges filed against him in connection with a sports memorabilia heist a week ago at Palace Station.
Authorities allege Simpson led a group of six men that burst into a hotel room and robbed two memorabilia collectors at gunpoint. They took footballs signed by Simpson and other collectibles, including lithographs of fellow NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana, authorities said.
North Las Vegas resident Bruce Fromong, who owned the memorabilia, told police he went to the hotel to meet a potential buyer. The second collector, Alfred Beardsley, of Burbank, Calif., had called Fromong at the request of Thomas Riccio, a California auction house owner who said he had arranged the meeting so that Simpson could reclaim his property.
Fromong and Beardsley both said they were set up.
One of the latest twists in the case was Beardsley's arrest Wednesday morning at his Strip hotel room.
California authorities are alleging Beardsley's recent trips to Las Vegas violated the conditions of his parole.
Beardsley was paroled in March 2006 after serving 11 months for stalking a woman, authorities said.
Also Wednesday morning, Las Vegas police made a fifth arrest in Simpson's case when Charles Cashmore turned himself in. One more suspect remained free, but police expected him to surrender soon.
Cashmore and co-defendant Michael McClinton were scheduled to appear in court this morning, most likely without the fanfare that surrounded Simpson's appearance at the Regional Justice Center on Wednesday.
The reporters from CNN, Fox News Channel and dozens of media outlets who descended on Las Vegas in the past week didn't come here because of those other guys. They came for Simpson, who ignited a media firestorm during his 1995 trial in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman. Simpson was acquitted of murder, but a civil jury found him liable for the slayings and awarded $38 million to the victims' families.
Many familiar faces from the first Simpson trial appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court on Wednesday morning.
Greta Van Susteren, who became a household name during the first trial as a CNN legal analyst, sat in the front row of the courtroom, this time as a talking head for Fox News Channel.
One row back sat Marcia Clark, the former Los Angeles County prosecutor who led the double-murder trial. She is a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight.
The reporters packed into the courtroom studied Simpson as he emerged from a side door about 8:20 a.m., wearing the standard-issue navy blue jail uniform, bright orange sandals and handcuffs shackled to his waist.
He said little during the 10-minute hearing, flinching as each charge was read.
"Mr. Simpson, do you understand the charges against you," Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure asked.
"Yes, sir," a somber Simpson replied.
District Attorney David Roger, who is personally handling the case, announced an agreement with Simpson's lawyers to set bail at $125,000.
As a condition of bail, Simpson had to surrender his passport to his lawyer within 24 hours and not contact any victims or witnesses in the case.
Simpson supporters, including his girlfriend, Christine Prody, his daughter, Arnelle Simpson, and his sister, Mattie Baker, watched the proceedings in silence.
The hearing had started with an explanation about why Bonaventure was presiding. Reporters had expected Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman to handle the case, but minutes before the hearing a bailiff removed her nameplate from the bench and replaced it with Bonaventure's.
The judge said the change was the result of a clerical mix-up involving case numbers. The district attorney's office had filed for a case number Friday, but when police made two arrests, including Simpson's, over the weekend, they received new case numbers that tracked the cases to Zimmerman's court.
On Monday prosecutors filed charges under the original case number, which already had been assigned to Bonaventure. Court officials apparently did not realize the error until Wednesday morning.
That wasn't the only controversy with the case. In court and at the news conference, Galanter lashed out at local lawyers who had been on national television claiming they represented Simpson. They had made the claim based on "bogus papers" filed with the clerk's office, and Galanter promised to take "professional action" against the unnamed lawyers.
Las Vegas attorney Scott Holper had appeared on Fox News Channel and CBS-TV's "Early Show" as Simpson's lawyer.
Holper defended himself Wednesday, saying that he was contacted by a Simpson cousin and that Galanter knew he was involved.
"If this guy wants to throw down and take it to the state bar ... he's met his match," Holper said. "I'll sue him for potential slander and libel, and I have attorneys who will do it for free."
At the news conference, Galanter praised Roger's professionalism and said the bail amount was fair.
Simpson posted bail through You Ring We Spring Bail Bonds, said Miguel Pereira, a bondsman with the company. He declined to say who posted the bail or how much money was involved, but people typically post just 15 percent of bail to get free, he said.
Pereira, who drove Simpson's family and girlfriend to and from the courthouse, said they were friendly and glad Simpson was being released from jail.
"You couldn't ask for more," he said.
A status check hearing was scheduled for Oct. 22. Defendants do not usually attend such hearings.
Galanter said he hoped people will not judge his client based on his past.
"The O.J. Simpson murder case involved very, very strong feelings," Galanter said. "I am a creature of the criminal justice system. ... I believe in the system. The system found him not guilty. In the eyes of the law, that is the only thing that matters."
Review-Journal staff writers K.C. Howard, David Kihara and Carri Geer Thevenot and columnist Norm Clarke contributed to this report.