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Prosecution witness: Simpson said to bring gun, 'look menacing'

9/27/2008

LAS VEGAS -- The man who is expected to be the prosecution's
final witness in the O.J. Simpson armed robbery and kidnapping case
testified Friday that the former football star asked him to bring a
gun to a hotel room confrontation at which they planned to recover
memorabilia.

The prosecutors also played a recording in which Simpson
appeared to be talking with Michael McClinton, the admitted gunman,
about a gun. The recording was made by McClinton, who like many
other witnesses in the case carried an audio recorder to a party
Simpson attended after the confrontation.

Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart are accused
of trying to steal collectibles at gunpoint from memorabilia
dealers at the Palace Station hotel and casino a little over a year
ago.

In the McClinton recording, Simpson says to McClinton: "You
didn't pull the piece out in the hall."

McClinton, a former co-defendant who accepted a plea deal,
responds: "No, no, no, no, no, no, hell, no."

Simpson denies seeing any guns. In testimony, McClinton said
Simpson had chided him, saying "that I had heavy hands."

"He was telling me there was no guns. I knew differently
because I had a gun," McClinton added.

McClinton testified that Simpson had asked him to bring a gun
and to "look menacing."

He said that he had his gun drawn when he crossed into the hotel
room and that Simpson was close enough that their shoulders could
have touched.

But by the time they were back in the car, McClinton testified,
"He [Simpson] was talking about the fact that there were no
guns."

McClinton was to face cross-examination Monday before the
prosecution rests its case.

Jurors also heard recordings Friday of police investigators
chuckling over Simpson's troubles, referring to him with foul
language and rejoicing at his impending arrest.

"You're just picking on him because you're mad about the
verdict," said Lt. Clint Nichols, head of the police robbery
division.

"Yup," responded crime scene analyst Michael Perkins.

In another exchange, Nichols said, "He's going to get
arrested."

"Who, who's gonna get arrested?" the analyst replied.

"O.J.," Nichols said.

"Oh, good," Perkins said.

The voices were captured on a digital recorder left running in
the room by Thomas Riccio, the middleman who arranged the foray to
reclaim Simpson memorabilia.

Defense attorney Gabriel Grasso showed jurors transcripts of the
comments during testimony by Andy Caldwell, the lead detective on
the case.

Caldwell acknowledged that the comments were made by Nichols and
the crime scene analyst.

The officers also chuckled over forensic evidence they will
produce. Caldwell acknowledged that Simpson called police almost
immediately after the confrontation and agreed to talk to them.

"Yes, he's already confessed to having it," Nichols said.
"Agreed to bring it back if need be. ... He told the cop that,
which is not the brightest thing in the world to do."

"Yes, no kidding," Perkins laughed.

"You think after all his problems he would learn not to talk to
anyone."

Prosecutors called Caldwell to the stand to identify
surreptitious phone recordings of Simpson talking to his daughter
Arnelle Simpson from the Clark County jail after he was arrested on
Sept. 16, 2007.

O.J. Simpson said in the call that he had a "long talk" with
memorabilia dealer Alfred Beardsley, and that Beardsley said he
didn't want to press charges.

"If he drops his charges, that's half the battle," O.J.
Simpson said, suggesting she contact Beardsley.

Arnelle Simpson promised to look for Beardsley's phone number
and ended the call saying, "Keep your spirit up, Dad."

"The phone call added to my concern that Mr. Simpson was trying
to contact victims in the case," Caldwell said. "He was trying to
affect the outcome of the case."