Closing arguments begin in Simpson robbery trial
LAS VEGAS - A prosecutor told jurors yesterday that O.J. Simpson recruited a pack of burly men to pull off an armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room, but the defense called him a victim of witnesses with ulterior motives and police who were out to get him.
Jurors were hearing closing arguments in the case against Simpson and a co-defendant, who are accused of robbing and kidnapping two sports memorabilia dealers who had items Simpson claims were his.
None of the five men initially charged with Simpson cared about the memorabilia, Clark County District Attorney David Roger said.
"But there was one person, and that was defendant Simpson," Roger said. "He is the person who put these crimes together. He is the one who recruited these individuals to help him commit the crimes."
The prosecutor also argued that detaining individuals with the intent to commit robbery is kidnapping.
"When they went into that room and forced the victims to the far side of the room, pulling out guns and yelling 'Don't let anybody out of here' - six very large people detaining these two victims in the room with the intent to take property through force or violence from them - that's kidnapping," Roger said.
Simpson attorney Yale Galanter said in his closing argument that his client became a target because of who he is.
"This case has taken on a life of its own because of Mr. Simpson's involvement. You know that. I know that," Galanter told the jury.
"Every cooperator, every person who had a gun, every person who had an ulterior motive, every person who signed a book deal, every person who got paid money - the police, the district attorney's office, is only interested in one thing: Mr. Simpson. He has always been the target of this investigation, and nothing else mattered," Galanter added.
Galanter reminded the jury of a surreptitious recording of police investigators in the hotel room after the incident. "They're making jokes. They're saying things like, 'We're gonna get him,' " he said.
Prosecutors have sought to prove that Simpson conspired with others to conduct an armed robbery at the Palace Station Casino Hotel on Sept. 13, 2007.
The defense has said Simpson never intended to commit a robbery but was on a mission to reclaim personal mementos of his career and family life.