O.J. Simpson must face trial on kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges stemming from a suspected sports memorabilia heist, a justice of the peace ruled Wednesday. Defense attorneys had argued during a preliminary hearing that the case was based on the accounts of con artists and crooks, and they asked for the charges to be dropped.
Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure ruled all charges in the 12-count complaint would remain against Simpson and co-defendants Clarence “C.J.” Stewart and Charles “Charlie” Ehrlich.
“This is what we expected,” Simpson told The Associated Press before he left the courtroom. “If I have any disappointment it’s that I wish a jury was here. As always, I rely on the jury system.”
Bonaventure acknowledged that the testimony of the witnesses was an issue to be weighed by the court and that the defense had raised questions of “bought” testimony. He said that there were a number of motive and credibility issues, but that they were “not so incredible or implausible” to keep the case from a jury.
Kidnapping convictions could result in a life sentence with possibility of parole. Armed robbery convictions would require some time in prison.
The defendants were ordered to arraignment on Nov. 28.
The case stemmed from a Sept. 13 confrontation in a casino hotel room where Simpson and a group of men are accused of stealing items from two sports memorabilia dealers.
Outside the courthouse, Simpson’s attorney, Yale Galanter, argued again that the former football star was trying only to reclaim family heirlooms and that he believed no crime was committed.
Galanter rejected the idea of a plea agreement and estimated it would take a year to bring the case to trial.
Stewart’s lawyer, Robert Lucherini, said he may seek to have his client’s trial separated from Simpson’s.