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Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

Co-defendant says Simpson wanted men with guns at meeting

October 18, 2007

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— O.J. Simpson wanted armed men with him when he confronted two sports memorabilia dealers, according to a co-defendant who has agreed to plead guilty and testify against the former football star.

"O.J. said 'Hey, just bring some firearms,'" Walter Alexander told police, according to a transcript of his tape-recorded statement obtained by The Associated Press.

Alexander told police after his arrest Sept. 15 that he and another man showed up with guns at Simpson's request, then headed with him into a casino hotel room to retrieve collectibles that Simpson said belonged to him.

Simpson told Alexander the guns were just for show, "so that these people know that, you know, we're here for business," Alexander quoted Simpson as saying.

Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, said Wednesday that Simpson's position remains that there were no guns brought to the room and he did not tell anyone to bring guns.

"There was no reason for Mr. Simpson to tell anyone to bring guns. He was going to see people he knew," Galanter said.

Alexander, 46, told police he carried a .22-caliber handgun in his waistband and Michael McClinton, who gave him that gun, pulled a larger pistol from a holster and displayed it in the room.

Alexander characterized Simpson as talkative during the confrontation and apparently surprised by McClinton's aggressive actions, with Simpson saying, "Calm down, put them guns down." McClinton responded that he needed to make sure memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley weren't armed.

But in a tape recording made in the room by Thomas Riccio, the man who arranged the meeting, "Nobody reacts to a gun. Nobody says, 'Put that gun away,"' Galanter said.

Alexander's 45-page account, which is provided in court documents turned over by prosecutors to defense attorneys, raises the legal stakes for Simpson.

"If it's true, it hurts O.J. tremendously," said Edward Miley, lawyer for co-defendant Charles Cashmore, who also has agreed to a plea deal.

"It puts (Simpson) at the scene where he knew there were firearms," Miley said. "Under conspiracy law in Nevada, he's on the hook, if they can prove it."

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