Prosecution witness: Simpson said to bring gun, 'look menacing'
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."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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