O.J. Simpson Found Guilty In Robbery Trial
SCOTT SIMON, host:
Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of O.J. Simpson's acquittal in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but once again, he was in court. This time, the courtroom was in Las Vegas, not Los Angeles. The charges were armed robbery and kidnapping, not murder. There was one other huge difference. O.J. Simpson was found guilty. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates was watching the drama unfold last night and joins us now to fill us in. Karen, thanks for being with us.
KAREN GRIGSBY BATES: You're welcome, Scott.
SIMON: And remind us how O.J. Simpson wound up in that Vegas courtroom.
BATES: Well, he had been in Las Vegas the year before, apparently, for a social event, and he heard that there were some dealers who were selling sports memorabilia that he thought had been illegally acquired from him. He didn't sell it to them. He wasn't sure how they had it, and he was kind of outraged that somebody else would be selling what he called his stuff. He felt that he was entitled to it, that the proceeds from that was - were what he was able to live on to help support his children, and so he wanted to get his stuff back.
And so that weekend, he - according to the prosecution, got together a couple of big guys, and according to prosecution, again, decided that he was going to go up to the hotel room of the two memorabilia dealers and intimidate them into relinquishing their ill-gotten gains.
SIMON: Is a lot of this case "he said, she said," or "he said, he said" - I think, I hadn't heard that there are any women there, I could be corrected - or is there better evidence?
BATES: Well, there was a lot of back and forth about who said what, who did what. But interestingly, the guy who arranged to put Simpson together with the dealers actually hid a small digital recorder on top of the armoire in the hotel room where they met, and so there's a recording of a lot of - it's pretty chaotic, but there's a lot of shouting, and you know, give my stuff, and you guys have my stuff, and at some point mentioned a gun in the room.
And so this is a part of what the prosecution used when it made its case to the jury that Simpson and one of his cohorts, a guy named Clarence Stewart, had guns and were brandishing them to - sorry, to intimidate these guys into giving up their stuff.
SIMON: Karen, when does Mr. Simpson get sentenced and what's his exposure, as we say? How much time could he serve?
BATES: He will be sentenced - he and Mr. Stewart will be sentenced on December 5th. District Judge Jackie Glass has been very firm about the date and she says that's the only thing on her docket that day and that's what's going to happen. So in about another two months we'll find out what the damages are. And he could face life - up to life imprisonment because of the kidnapping charge. Apparently one of the charges is, you know, someone blocked the door, the gun was being brandished. So it's first degree kidnapping with a deadly weapon, and the maximum penalty for that, Scott, is life imprisonment.
SIMON: NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates, thanks very much for being with us.
BATES: You're welcome.