Simpson 'ready' for trial in LV


O.J. Simpson's lawyer declared the former football star was ready for jury selection to begin next Monday in his trial stemming from allegations he robbed two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint almost a year ago.

"Ready for trial, judge," Simpson lawyer Gabriel Grasso said Tuesday, during the last scheduled pretrial hearing.

But Robert Lucherini, lawyer for Simpson's only remaining co-defendant, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, made yet another pitch to sever or postpone the trial. He told Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass he'll ask the Nevada Supreme Court to reconsider its denial of his request for a separate or delayed trial.

Glass denied Lucherini's motion to delay the trial.

Glass said a pool of 500 would-be jurors was reduced to about 250 after defense lawyers and prosecutors spent several hours behind closed doors Aug. 25 reviewing answers that prospective jurors provided on 26-page questionnaires.

"We did excuse most of the people, if not all of the people, who expressed extreme opinions about the parties, in an effort to have a very efficient jury selection process," Glass said.

The judge said she expected to complete jury selection within a week. Trial is scheduled to take up to five weeks.

Simpson and Stewart have pleaded not guilty to 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in a Sept. 13, 2007, confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel.

A kidnapping conviction could get them life in prison with the possibility of parole. A robbery conviction would mean mandatory prison time.

Four other men who accompanied Simpson and Stewart have accepted plea deals, pleaded guilty to felony charges and agreed to testify for the prosecution.

 

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