OJ Simpson loses bid for new trial in Las Vegas

By: AP
By: AP

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- O.J. Simpson was denied a new trial Friday by the Nevada judge who presided over his conviction in the gunpoint robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass said challenges raised by lawyers for Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart did not rise to the level of granting another trial.

"All of the issues have been preserved for the (Nevada) Supreme Court," Glass said, acknowledging her rulings could be appealed to the state's only appellate court.

Simpson and Stewart, who were shackled and in jail garb, did not speak during the 20-minute hearing, at which the judge also denied requests to release them on bail pending sentencing Dec. 5.

"They face life sentences, mandatory prison," Glass said. "Your motions are being denied."

Simpson, 61, and Stewart, 54, were convicted Oct. 3 of charges including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in the hotel room confrontation on Sept. 13, 2007. Simpson has argued he was trying to recover stolen mementos.

Each faces five years to life in prison on each of their two kidnapping convictions, and a mandatory sentence of at least two years or up to 30 years on each of the two armed robbery convictions.

Stewart's lawyer, Brent Bryson, on Friday raised a new allegation of misconduct by the jury foreman, Paul Connelly. Bryson said an investigator for Simpson's lawyers found that Connelly was dismissed from a job with a soft drink company after making racially disparaging statements.

"That's problematic for our clients, who are black," Bryson said.

Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter did not address the jury misconduct issue during the hearing. Outside court, he confirmed Bryson's statements but declined to provide more information.

Bryson has argued that Connelly told the media after Simpson's conviction that he thought the former football star should have gotten life in prison for the 1994 slaying of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles.

Connelly has said those comments were taken out of context, and he did not respond to telephone messages Friday from The Associated Press.

In her ruling, Glass sided with prosecutor Chris Owens, who said defense lawyers "were not under any illusions" about Connelly's opinions after reviewing his jury questionnaire and asking him questions directly.

"I find that nothing has risen to a level of juror misconduct," Glass said.

In another matter, Nevada Attorney General Jill Davis submitted documents Monday asking the state Supreme Court to uphold Glass' decisions to withhold jury questionnaires from the public until the trial was over and redact the documents when they were released.

Lawyer Colby Williams, representing the AP and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, said Friday that case law is clear and jury questioning should be an open process and questionnaires should be made public.

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