Angry judge doubles Simpson's bail
EmptyLAS VEGAS -- An angry judge doubled O.J. Simpson's bail to $250,000 on Wednesday for violating terms of his original bail by attempting to contact a co-defendant in his sports memorabilia armed robbery case through a phone message to his bondsman.
Simpson, clad in jail attire, grimaced as the amount was announced and meekly acknowledged that he understood.
"I don't know Mr. Simpson what the heck you were thinking -- or maybe that's the problem -- you weren't," Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass lectured Simpson during a hearing.
"I don't know if it's just arrogance. I don't know if it's ignorance. But you've been locked up at the Clark County Detention Center since Friday because of arrogance or ignorance -- or both."
Glass said that the initial court order to not contact other defendants was clear and she warned that if anything else happened in the future Simpson would be locked up.
Simpson was picked up by his bail bondsman, Miguel Pereira of You Ring We Spring, in Florida on Friday and was brought back to Nevada for violating terms of his release.
The district attorney charged that Simpson left an expletive-laced phone message Nov. 16, telling Pereira to tell co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart how upset Simpson was about testimony during their preliminary hearing.
"I just want, want C.J. to know that ... I'm tired of this (expletive)," Simpson was quoted as saying. "Fed up with (expletives) changing what they told me. All right?"
Pereira testified during the bail hearing but the recording was not played despite the prosecution's attempt to do so.
Simpson attorney Yale Galanter immediately stipulated that Simpson made the call and the judge did not allow the recording to be heard.
While Pereira was on the stand, prosecutor Chris Owens elicted testimony that Simpson did not pay the 15% premium owed on the $125,000 bond -- $18,750 -- or the $40 filing fee.
But Galanter charged during cross-examination that Pereira provided Simpson's bail for the publicity.
Galanter got Pereira to acknowledge that he never sent Simpson a bill, and although Simpson gave him power of attorney, the bondsman chose to not put a lien on Simpson's home.
The prosecutor told the judge that the phone call had an "undercurrent of threat" and he asked that Simpson's bail be raised to $1million and that Simpson be placed under house arrest.
After arguments, Glass declared: "How we came to be here today -- it's actually mind-boggling to this court.
"The bail bondsman goes to get you and there's nothing that's been posted. But I just heard him say he really wasn't expecting anything. That really doesn't make a whole lot of sense to the court."
The judge, expressing concern about the "tone" of the phone message, said that this time Simpson would be required to pay the premium, and Galanter said a lien would be put on Simpson's home.
"I tell you, I don't want him out of the jail" until it is paid, the judge said.
"Mr. Simpson, no contact ... no phone messages to any third parties, no e-mails, no letters, nothing. You understand that?" she said.
"Yes, your honor," Simpson said.
She also warned Simpson against leaving the continental United States, even for a boat trip.
"You stay on dry land, you understand?" the judge said.
"Yes, your honor," Simpson said
"Just go back to Florida after your bail is posted and come back here ... for your trial," Glass added.
Outside court, Galanter said the judge's decision was "appropriate, judicious, and correct" but he insisted there was no effort by Simpson to contact the co-defendant, and he blamed the bondsman.
"Mr. Pereira is a piranha," Galanter said.
Galanter said he did not know how long it would take to post bond and free Simpson.
"I have no way of estimating that" but he expected it to be within the next few days, Galanter said.
Simpson, Stewart and a third defendant, Charles Ehrlich pleaded not guilty Nov. 28 to kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, coercion and conspiracy charges. A kidnapping conviction could bring a life sentence with the possibility of parole. An armed robbery conviction carries mandatory prison time.
Three other former co-defendants, Walter Alexander, Michael McClinton and Charles Cashmore, have pleaded to lesser charges and testified against Simpson at the preliminary hearing.
Simpson has denied any knowledge about guns being involved in the confrontation with memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley. He has said he intended only to retrieve items that had been stolen from him by a former agent, including the suit he wore the day he was acquitted of murder in 1995 in the slayings of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
Beardsley sat through Wednesday's hearing and then met with Simpson's lawyers afterward.