Nevada court denies delay in Simpson robbery trial

Updated: August 28, 2008, 8:22 PM ET
Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- A request from O.J. Simpson's last remaining co-defendant to delay the Sept. 8 start of the pair's armed robbery and kidnapping trial was rejected Thursday by a divided Nevada Supreme Court panel.

In a 2-1 decision, Justices Bill Maupin and Ron Parraguirre refused to stay Simpson and Clarence "C.J." Stewart's upcoming trial, and rejected Stewart's petition for a separate trial.

O.J. Simpson

Simpson

The brief majority order said justices "are not satisfied that this court's intervention by way of extraordinary writ is warranted at this time."

Justice Michael Cherry dissented, saying he would have granted the stay. He called for an answer from prosecutors to the petition for separate trials.

Stewart's attorney, Robert Lucherini, did not return calls seeking comment on whether he would ask the high court to reconsider.

Lucherini appealed to the Supreme Court after Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass refused to halt proceedings. Glass delayed the start of the trial once in April and vowed not to postpone it again.

Lucherini argued it will be impossible for Stewart to get a fair trial sitting next to Simpson, the NFL Hall of Fame player, actor and advertising pitchman who was acquitted in 1995 in Los Angeles of criminal charges that he murdered his ex-wife and her friend. Simpson was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case.

Simpson and Stewart are charged in a Sept. 13, 2007, confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers at a casino hotel room in Las Vegas. Four men who accompanied Simpson and Stewart have accepted plea deals and agreed to testify.

Simpson and Stewart each face 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. A kidnapping conviction carries the possibility of life in prison with the possibility of parole, and a robbery conviction would mean mandatory prison time.

Simpson maintains that he went to the hotel room to retrieve items that had been stolen from him, that he didn't ask anyone to bring guns and that he didn't know anyone in the room was armed.

The trial is expected to take at least five weeks. A kidnapping conviction carries the possibility of life in prison with the possibility of parole, and a robbery conviction would mean mandatory prison time.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press