Prosecution rests robbery case against OJ Simpson

By: AP
By: AP
The man who told a jury that O.J. Simpson asked him to bring guns and "look menacing" during a hotel room confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers acknowledged Monday he didn

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 (AP) -- The man who told a jury that O.J. Simpson asked him to bring guns and "look menacing" during a hotel room confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers acknowledged Monday he didn't tell police that last October.

"You have a whole conversation with police and you never say 'O.J. said to bring guns?'" Simpson defense lawyer Gabriel Grasso asked the witness, Michael McClinton, during a lengthy cross-examination.

"It may have slipped my mind," McClinton responded. "But Mr. Simpson knew I had a gun. He read my concealed weapons permit."

McClinton, 50, a Las Vegas resident who worked as a security guard, was the last of four former co-defendants to testify against Simpson in the trial. After he finished two days of testimony, prosecutors rested their case against the former football star and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart.

Simpson and Stewart have pleaded not guilty to 12 criminal charges, including armed robbery and kidnapping, and could face five years to life in prison in the Sept. 13. 2007, confrontation in a Las Vegas casino hotel room. Simpson has said he only wanted to retrieve mementos of his storied career from the memorabilia dealers.

As the defense started its case, Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter called police Sgt. Rod Hunt back to the stand to describe how Simpson offered his immediate cooperation to police, including providing his personal cell phone number to a patrol officer. Hunt supervised the robbery detectives who investigated the case.

Earlier, McClinton told the jury he brought and displayed a .45-caliber handgun during the six-minute confrontation with memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley and gave another gun to his friend and former co-defendant, Walter Alexander.

Simpson has claimed he saw no guns in the room. But McClinton said he had his gun drawn when he entered the room and that Simpson was close enough that their shoulders could have touched.

Grasso returned repeatedly to McClinton's failure to tell police on Oct. 15, 2007, that Simpson told him to bring weapons.

"You must've forgotten, right?" Grasso asked.

"Sometimes that happens," McClinton said.

Grasso noted that McClinton pleaded guilty to robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in an agreement that called for him to testify against Simpson. He could get probation or up to 11 years in prison when he is sentenced after the trial. He also has surrendered his concealed weapons permit.

McClinton spent the entire morning on the witness stand while Grasso offered a defense transcript of an audio tape McClinton secretly recorded at a restaurant where he went with Simpson and others after the confrontation.

Grasso led McClinton, line-by-line, through a comparison of the defense transcript of the recording with a prosecution transcript used when McClinton was questioned by District Attorney David Roger.

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.

Prosecutors had used the tape to bolster McClinton's testimony.

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


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