O.J. Simpson charged with 7 felonies, including kidnapping

LAS VEGAS — Prosecutors filed formal charges Tuesday against O.J. Simpson, alleging the fallen football star committed seven felonies, including kidnapping, in the armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in a casino-hotel room.

— Simpson was arrested Sunday after a collector reported a group of armed men charged into his hotel room and took several items Simpson claimed belonged to him.

— Simpson, 60, was booked on suspicion of assault and robbery with a deadly weapon. District Attorney David Roger filed those charges and added kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, according to court documents.

— Simpson, who was accused along with three other men, faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted in the robbery at the Palace Station casino. He was being held without bail and was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

— According to the charges, Simpson and the others went to the hotel room under the pretext of brokering a deal with the men. Once in the room, Simpson prevented one of the collectors from calling 911 on his cell phone “by ripping it out of Bruce Fromong’s hand” while one or more accomplices pointed or displayed a handgun.

— The complaint does not specify which of the men involved was carrying the weapon.

— Simpson’s lawyer, Yale Galanter, said he planned to ask for Simpson’s release on his own recognizance.

— “If it was anyone other than O.J. Simpson, he would have been released by now,” Galanter said.

— Simpson has insisted he was not armed and that he went to the hotel simply to retrieve property that had been stolen from him.

— “You can’t rob something that is yours,” Galanter said. “O.J. said, ’You’ve got stolen property. Either you return it or I call the police.’” —

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— Witnesses and authorities have said that they don’t believe Simpson had a gun but that some of the men who accompanied him during the confrontation were armed.

— Two others named in the complaint, Walter Alexander and Clarence Stewart, have been arrested and released. Authorities were seeking an arrest warrant for a fourth man, Michael McClinton, 49, of Las Vegas, a man police describe as “a key player” in the alleged theft. — — — — — — — — — —

Judge Nancy Oesterle, center, who handles the media, speaks during a news conference held outside the the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, Monday, Sept. 17, 2007. Justice of the Peace Douglas Smith, who made the decision to hold Simpson without bail, was "concerned about the flight factor" and because Simpson had no ties to the Las Vegas area, said Judge Oesterle.

— — AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

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“We hope to have him in custody today,” said officer Ramon Denby, a police spokesman. “Hopefully, he’ll be cooperative and surrender with his attorney.” — —

Alexander, one of the men arrested with Simpson, said Tuesday that Simpson may have been tricked because another memorabilia dealer who tipped him off also recorded everything on tape. — — —

— “It sounds like a setup to me,” Alexander told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He said Simpson had thought the memorabilia belonged to him after getting a call from the dealer.

— Simpson and the other three men are charged with: two counts of first-degree kidnapping; two counts of robbery with use of a deadly weapon; burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon; two counts of assault with a deadly weapon; conspiracy to commit kidnapping; conspiracy to commit robbery; and a misdemeanor, conspiracy to commit a crime.

— Simpson also faces one charge of coercion with use of a deadly weapon, a felony.

— Bruce Fromong, one of the collectors in the hotel room, had a heart attack Monday. He was in critical condition Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

— Earlier Tuesday in California, a judge gave Fred Goldman a week to come up with a list of sports memorabilia O.J. Simpson is accused of stealing from the Vegas hotel room, but he refused to order Simpson to hand over his earnings from everything from autograph signings to video games.

— Simpson was acquitted more than a decade ago of the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman’s son, Ron. He was later found liable for the slayings in a wrongful-death trial.

— The civil jury returned a $33.5 million judgment against Simpson, but it remains largely unpaid. The Goldman family has waged a campaign to claim Simpson’s assets since then.

— In court in Santa Monica, David Cook, an attorney for Fred Goldman, accused Simpson of “sitting on a treasure trove of sports memorability” while ignoring the multimillion-dollar judgment. But both Cook and Simpson lawyer Ronald Slates said they had no idea what the items were, and Slates argued it was unclear whether Simpson really owned any of them. — — — — — — — — — —

Larry Kincaid, a 43-year-old Las Vegas resident, holds a sign to support O.J. Simpson outside the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007. Simpson was arrested Sunday after a sports memorabilia collector reported a group of armed men had charged into his Las Vegas hotel room and taken several items Simpson claimed belonged to him.

— — AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

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Cook also filed a new request to get Simpson’s watch, which he described as a Rolex Submariner that he saw the former football star wearing in a photo featured on the celebrity Web site TMZ.com. Such watches sell for $5,000 or more, he said. — — —

— He also argued that Simpson was wealthy, citing a 2003 tax form indicating income of $400,000.

— Slates noted Simpson has expenses for his three children. “He has a right, like everybody else, to be protected (under the law),” Slates said.

— Slates also said Simpson has repeatedly offered to settle the judgment with the Goldman family.

— “It is inconceivable that the father of a murder victim would sit and haggle,” Cook said. — — — — — — — — —

Las Vegas court information officer Michael Sommermeyer, center, speaks during a news conference held outside the the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, Monday, Sept. 17, 2007. A judge ordered O.J. Simpson held without bail. Sommermeyer said Simpson's arraignment was set for Wednesday.

— — AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

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— Associated Press Writer Robert Jablon in Santa Monica, Calif., contributed to this report.

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