O.J. Trial Witness Compares Audio Tape Transcripts

By: AP
By: AP
O.J. Simpson

O.J. Simpson appears in court during his trial in District Court at the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008. Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart are standing trial on 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy related to a 2007 confrontation with sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, pool)

LAS VEGAS - O.J. Simpson's armed robbery-kidnapping trial resumed Monday with defense attorneys trying to cast doubt on the testimony of a man who said he brandished a gun during a hotel room confrontation after being told by Simpson to "look menacing."

Michael McClinton underwent lengthy cross-examination by Simpson attorney Gabriel Grasso, who offered a defense transcript of an audio tape McClinton secretly recorded at a restaurant where he went with Simpson and other men after they allegedly robbed two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint last year.

Grasso began the day having McClinton do a line-by-line comparison of the defense transcript with a prosecution transcript used when McClinton was questioned Friday by District Attorney David Roger.

"See if it's correct who's saying what," Grasso told McClinton.

McClinton acknowledged differences in the two transcripts and at one point said laughter that had been attributed to him was someone else's.

"There are numerous deletions and additions that you agreed that are not on the transcript," Grasso said after hours of replaying audio clips.

"Yes," McClinton responded.

McClinton, testifying under a plea bargain which could save him from prison, testified earlier that Simpson asked him to bring a gun to the hotel-casino where the former football star planned to reclaim mementos of his storied career from memorabilia dealers who were offering them for sale.

He was scheduled to be the prosecution's last witness but intense cross-examination could extend his stay on the witness stand. The defense planned to begin calling its own witnesses after McClinton.

Simpson claims he saw no guns the night of Sept 13, 2007, but McClinton 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.

Prosecutors bolstered McClinton's testimony with an audio tape recorded by McClinton during a party attended by Simpson only hours after the hotel room incident.

"This ain't no major crime," Simpson is heard saying on the tape.

On Friday, Roger highlighted this exchange between Simpson and McClinton:

Simpson: "You didn't pull the piece out in the hall."

McClinton: "No, no, no, no, no, no, hell no."

Simpson added in the recording, "There ain't nothin' on that video and look, they gonna look at the video. ... Ain't nothin' they can see, they gonna see us goin' in the place. Then they gonna see us leaving with just the boxes."

McClinton testified that Simpson seemed concerned about security video cameras at the hotel. None of the surveillance videos shown at the three-week-old trial have included any image of a gun, and witnesses have been conflicted about whether Simpson could have been in a position to see a gun in the cramped hotel room.

In one taped segment, Simpson mentioned co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart who, along with Simpson, has pleaded not guilty to 12 charges including kidnapping, armed robbery, coercion and assault with a deadly weapon. A kidnapping conviction could result in a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. An armed robbery conviction could mean mandatory prison time.

"I told C.J., do me a favor get me some boys. I just want them to look menacing," he is heard saying on the tape.

When it was over, McClinton testified, "He was telling me there was no guns. I knew differently because I had a gun."

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Associated Press Writer Ken Ritter contributed to this report.


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