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October 24, 2014

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O.J. Simpson sports memorabilia case marks anniversary

Simpson’s robbery/kidnapping trial opens with oral arguments Monday

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It has been exactly 365 days since O.J. Simpson and five other men supposedly raided a Palace Station hotel room and stole various items from two memorabilia dealers.

A year later, Simpson is once again back in Vegas, but this time he is visiting Sin City under very different circumstances. When Simpson came to Las Vegas in September last year, he was here to watch his friend, Tom Scotto, get married at the Little White Wedding Chapel.

Fast-forward 365 days and Simpson is back in town, however reluctantly, looking forward to several weeks of criminal proceedings.

Scotto will likely soon return, too, in the coming weeks. He and his wife are both on the list of possible trial witnesses.

Simpon and one of the four men that accompanied him on that trip to Palace Station a year ago, Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, are each charged with 12 counts of robbery, weapons and kidnapping-related charges.

Three of the others, Michael McClinton, Charles Ehrlich and Walter Alexander, were previously indicted for their roles in the incident, but all three have since cut deals with the prosecution in return for their testimony against Simpson and Stewart. The fourth man involved, memorabilia dealer Thomas Riccio, was given immunity for his cooperation with investigators.

Simpson and Stewart are co-accused and face the same 12 counts. Their criminal trial will begin on Monday. If convicted, Simpson, 61, and Stewart, 54, could spend the rest of their lives in state prison.

The felony which Simpson and Stewart are both two times charged, first-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon, carries a possible life sentence with no chance of parole for five years.

The other charges – two counts of robbery with use of a deadly weapon, burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon, two counts of coercion with use of a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery and to commit a crime – carry possible prison sentences ranging from one to 15 years.

Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Jackie Glass will preside over trial proceedings. Though she has served just six years on the bench, Glass has already handled a few high-profile cases.

In 2005 she sent former NFL kicker, Cole Ford, to a mental facility following a shooting at the home of legendary tiger entertainers and illusionists, Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn. Her courtroom also captured national attention in 2003 when she ruled Yun Sung was guilty in the extortion case involving Celeine Dion’s husband, Rene Angelil.

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