OJ Simpson charged with kidnapping and armed robbery
LAS VEGAS |
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson, the former American football star acquitted of double murder in 1995, was charged on Tuesday with kidnapping, armed robbery and assault in a dispute over sports memorabilia at a Las Vegas hotel.
Simpson and his three co-defendants face a total of 11 charges that could send the 60-year-old athlete-turned-actor to prison for the rest of his life -- a fate he dodged in his sensational "trial of the century" by winning an acquittal.
The Las Vegas charges stem from what authorities say was the armed theft on Thursday by Simpson of his own sports memorabilia from a pair of collectors who were staying at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino.
Simpson was arrested on Sunday and has been held without bail pending a first court appearance on Wednesday that may also include his co-defendants. At that hearing, Simpson will be advised of the charges against him and his attorneys were expected to ask a judge to set bail.
Police have not accused Simpson of brandishing a firearm in the confrontation but he could still be convicted of participating in the charges involving a firearm if one or more of the men said to have been with him were threatening dealers with a gun.
The formal charges against Simpson and his co-defendants include: conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery and burglary; burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon; kidnapping with a deadly weapon; robbery with a deadly weapon; assault and coercion with a deadly weapon.
Simpson has told reporters he did nothing wrong and was merely trying to retrieve his own collectibles, personal photos, his Hall of Fame certificate and other items he said had been stolen by a former sports agent.
In a recording of the incident, reportedly made by one of the dealers and released by the celebrity Web site TMZ.com, a man said to be Simpson is heard saying angrily: "Don't let nobody out of this room ... Think you can steal my shit and sell it?"
Simpson was a record-setting running back in the National Football League nicknamed "The Juice" who parlayed that fame into a career in movies and television.
He was charged with double murder after his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, 25, were found stabbed and slashed to death in front of her Los Angeles home in 1994.
Simpson was acquitted of murder in a criminal court in 1995, but two years later a civil court jury found him responsible for the deaths and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages to the victims' families.
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