Lawyers: Most Ex-Simpson Defendants Face Probation

By: AP
By: AP
At least three of the four former co-defendants who took plea deals and testified against O.J. Simpson in his kidnapping and armed robbery trial could get probation at sentencing Tuesday, their lawyers said.

(AP Photo/John Gurzinski, Pool)

At least three of the four former co-defendants who took plea deals and testified against O.J. Simpson in his kidnapping and armed robbery trial could get probation at sentencing Tuesday, their lawyers said.

State parole and probation agents are recommending no prison time for Michael McClinton, who acknowledged bringing guns to the hotel room confrontation between Simpson and two sports memorabilia dealers, and Charles Cashmore, the last man recruited for the escapade, their attorneys said Monday.

"We're hoping Judge (Jackie) Glass sees her way to look upon the recommendation favorably," said William Terry, McClinton's lawyer.

Prosecutors earlier promised to seek a suspended sentence and probation for Walter Alexander, who admitted taking one of McClinton's guns into the Palace Station hotel room for the Sept. 13, 2007, encounter.

"The deal is probation or the right to withdraw his plea," Alexander's lawyer, Robert Dennis Rentzer, said Monday of his client's October 2007 plea to felony conspiracy to commit robbery. "My client cooperated even before it was to his legal advantage to do so."

An attorney for Charles Ehrlich, the last of the four men to take a plea deal and agree to testify for the prosecution, did not respond to messages seeking comment about his sentencing recommendation.

All four were due to appear Tuesday before Judge Jackie Glass, who sentenced Simpson on Friday to nine to 33 years in prison for his conviction on 10 charges, including kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and conspiracy.

The 61-year-old former football star was transferred Monday to a Nevada state prison to begin serving his sentence.

Clarence "C.J." Stewart, 54, the lone co-defendant to stand trial and be convicted of the same charges as Simpson, remained at the Clark County jail. He was sentenced to 7 1/2 to 27 years after prosecutors characterized him as less culpable than Simpson in the armed raid on the hotel room.

A jury found the two men guilty Oct. 3 of 12 charges, but Glass threw out two felony coercion charges at sentencing.

Simpson, in an emotional statement to the judge, said he asked Stewart to help him retrieve personal items and memorabilia, and that McClinton, Alexander, Ehrlich and Cashmore volunteered to come along.

Simpson insisted he was only after items that he said had been stolen from him in the years after he was acquitted of murder in the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles.

All six men originally faced similar charges in the confrontation arranged by middleman Thomas Riccio between Simpson and collectibles dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley.

Alexander, 47, of Mesa, Ariz., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, a felony. He testified that Simpson asked him to carry a gun - undercutting Simpson's steadfast denials that guns were involved.

Cashmore, 41, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to felony accessory to robbery and testified he saw McClinton and Alexander with guns. Cashmore faces up to five years in prison, but his lawyer, Edward Miley, said state officials have recommended probation.

McClinton, 50, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to felony robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. Neither charge involved an admission that he brought guns, although he testified he gave one to Alexander and displayed the other. McClinton faces up to 11 years in prison if Glass chooses to disregard the probation recommendation.

Ehrlich, 54, of Miami, took a plea deal a little more than a month before trial began Sept. 8. He pleaded guilty to attempted burglary and attempted accessory to robbery, felonies that could get him probation or up to five years in prison.

Ehrlich testified that he heard Simpson say, "Put the gun away," although those words were not heard on audio recordings that jurors said they relied on to reach their verdict.

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