O.J. back in court facing life sentence
O.J. Simpson went on trial on Monday for kidnapping and armed robbery in a case that could end with him being jailed for life 13 years after he was acquitted of murdering his former wife.
The 61-year-old ex-American football star and actor, whose televised appearances in America’s trial of the century captivated the country, allegedly robbed two sports memorabilia collectors in a Las Vegas hotel last year. He is accused of conducting the raid with five men, four of whom have struck plea deals for reduced sentences in return for testifying against Simpson and his one remaining co-defendant, Clarence Stewart.
Dressed in a light grey suit and tie, Simpson stared ahead during the prosecution’s opening statement, blinking, occasionally shaking his head, puffing his cheeks or muttering.
He and Stewart face 12 charges, including robbery and assault with a deadly weapon and kidnapping. Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Christopher Owens, the prosecutor, said the evidence would expose the “true face” of Simpson, “not necessarily the one he tries to put out to the world,” and his pattern of “arrogance coupled with hypocrisy.”
He alleged that the seeds of “what was going to be a sting” were sewn in the civil judgment, in 1997, against Simpson, which found him liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson, his ex-wife, and Ronald Goldman. He was ordered to pay their families $33.5 million — which he has refused to do.
Simpson, Owens said, had masterminded a plot to use force to get back items of memorabilia, some of which were autographed by him, that he claimed were rightfully his.