Co-defendant: Simpson wanted guns in Vegas
EmptyLAS VEGAS -- O.J. Simpson wanted guns in the room when he led a group of men to confront two sports memorabilia dealers, according to one of the men who has agreed to testify for the prosecution in the armed robbery case.
Walter Alexander told police after he was arrested Sept. 15 that Simpson wanted the group to be armed when they stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room to retrieve sports collectibles that Simpson said belonged to him.
"O.J. said 'hey, just bring some firearms,"' Alexander told police in a transcript of his tape-recorded statement obtained by The Associated Press.
"He said ... 'we won't have to use 'em, but ... just to look tough, you know, so that these people know that, you know, we're here for business,"' Alexander said.
Alexander, 46, told police he carried a .22-caliber handgun in his waistband and Michael McClinton, who gave him that gun, pulled a larger pistol from a holster and displayed it in the room. Alexander said he did not know the caliber of the other gun.
Police have alleged that McClinton, who Alexander called "Spencer," impersonated a law enforcement officer during the alleged robbery.
"Spencer went in kinda, you know, being Mr. Tough Guy," Alexander said, adding that McClinton's behavior "made things a lot worse than they probably would've been."
Alexander characterized Simpson as talkative and apparently surprised by McClinton's aggressive actions, saying, "calm down, dude, you know, I mean, calm down, put them guns down." McClinton responded that he needed to make sure memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley weren't armed.
"I mean, Juice had told him just to carry the gun, not to, you know, take it out, just to show it," Alexander said. "But now he brought the gun out and he was like, you know, up against the walls, up against the walls."
Alexander, a real estate salesman from Mesa, Ariz., and Simpson's golfing buddy, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, a felony that could result in a sentence of one to six years in prison. Clark County District Attorney David Roger said Alexander could receive a suspended sentence and be eligible for probation. He also said prosecutors will send a letter on Alexander's behalf to boards of realty in return for his cooperation.
Alexander's 45-page account, which is provided in court documents turned over by prosecutors to defense attorneys, raises the legal stakes for Simpson, who has told AP that guns were not involved in the Sept. 13 encounter.
"If it's true, it hurts O.J. tremendously," said Edward Miley, lawyer for co-defendant Charles Cashmore, who also has agreed to a plea deal.
Simpson's credibility would be damaged because he has said there were no guns involved, he said.
"It puts him at the scene where he knew there were firearms," Miley said. "Under conspiracy law in Nevada, he's on the hook, if they can prove it."
Simpson's attorneys, Yale Galanter of Miami, and Gabriel Grasso of Las Vegas, did not immediately respond Wednesday to requests for comment. Lawyers for McClinton and co-defendants Clarence "C.J." Stewart and Charles Ehrlich also did not immediately respond to messages.