After four days of grilling witness after witness about holes in their testimony and skeletons in their closets, O.J. Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter said his only regret was not having a jury in the courtroom to hear it.
Now he'll get his wish.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure on Wednesday ordered Simpson and his two co-defendants, Clarence Stewart and Charles Ehrlich, to face trial on kidnapping, robbery with a deadly weapon and other charges in the Sept. 13 sports memorabilia heist at Palace Station.
In his decision, the judge acknowledged credibility issues with key witnesses and potential legal issues with the charges, yet found probable cause that the defendants had committed the crime.
"The ultimate determination of the credibility of witnesses should be left to a jury," he said in sending the case to District Court, where the defendants face a Nov. 28 arraignment on all 12 criminal charges filed by prosecutors.
At a news conference after the decision, Galanter seemed to relish the chance to cross examine the witnesses again.
"These are not good people. These are not credible people, and they should not be believed," Galanter said. "This case is a defense attorney's dream."
If a jury had heard the testimony from the preliminary hearing, the case would be over and Simpson would be a free man, he said.
A trial date will be set at the arraignment before District Judge Jackie Glass, who will preside over the case. Simpson's lawyers said they'll consider asking for a trial within 60 days. Most felony cases in Clark County reach trial in about a year.
Simpson, 60, Stewart and Ehrlich, both 53, face potential life sentences in the case. Authorities believe they were part of a group that stormed a Palace Station hotel room and robbed two sports memorabilia dealers, Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong, at gunpoint.
Galanter maintained that Simpson acted within the law and only wanted to recover family photos, personal memorabilia and other items he thought had been stolen from him.
Three other men who took part in the raid, Walter Alexander, Michael McClinton and Charles Cashmore, have agreed to plead guilty to reduced charges in exchange for their testimony.
Alexander and McClinton provide key testimony Tuesday, saying they brought guns because Simpson had asked them to.
Defense lawyers aggressively questioned both witnesses, and Galanter even accused Alexander of being a pimp who helped run a prostitution Web site.
Beardsley didn't fare much better during his time on the witness stand Wednesday morning. When they weren't suggesting he was a con artist and heard voices in his head, defense lawyers questioned him about his domestic violence conviction and whether he was trying to make a buck off the incident.
"Do you recall saying, 'Bruce. Bruce. Do you know how much money we're going to make off this incident?' " Galanter said, reading from a transcript of a secret audio recording made in the hotel room.
"If it's on the tape, I said it," Beardsley replied.
Beardsley testified that he and Simpson had been unwitting victims in the operation set up by auctioneer Thomas Riccio, who testified last week that he arranged the meeting to help Simpson retrieve personal property that had been stolen from him a decade ago.
Riccio received immunity from prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation and the secret recordings he had made before, during and after the hotel room raid.
Beardsley, who said he didn't want to testify against Simpson, told the court the football star was misled by Riccio about the property Fromong was bringing to the meeting.
Simpson was expecting family photos and other personal items that had been auctioned off because of unpaid storage bills, Beardsley said.
But Fromong, a former business partner of Simpson's, brought game footballs, plaques and other memorabilia he had legitimately purchased from Mike Gilbert, Simpson's former agent, he said.
Fromong had testified he might have given the memorabilia to Simpson if he had asked.
After listening to wave upon wave of attacks on the witnesses' credibility, prosecutor Christopher Owens told Bonaventure that they were a reflection on Simpson.
"Say what you want about the witnesses," Owens said. "These are the people he surrounds himself with."
But their ties to Simpson won't stop his lawyers from attacking their believability on the witness stand.
"They perjured themselves. It's not even close," Galanter said, referring to the witnesses as a "nefarious bunch" with "checkered pasts."
Simpson's lawyers also suggested they will challenge testimony from at least six witnesses who said guns were used in the heist. The lawyers pointed to more than 16 hours of secret audio recordings made by Riccio and McClinton before, during and after the heist. No one ever mentions a gun on the recordings, they said.
They will also contend that Simpson was acting within the law and only trying to get back what belonged to him.
"I do not believe Mr. Simpson committed any crime. He does not believe he committed any crime," Galanter said. "So unless the district attorney's office is willing to give us a complete dismissal, this case will go to trial."
Contact reporter Brian Haynes to firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 383-0281.