O.J. Simpson leaves jail after judge's lecture

Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:49am EST
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By Rick Wilking

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson was freed from a Las Vegas jail on Wednesday evening, after spending five nights behind bars for trying to contact a defendant in an armed-robbery case that could send him to prison for life.

The former football star posted the $250,000 bail that had been imposed earlier in the day by an angry judge, and was driven off in a white Mercedes-Benz amid tight security at the Clark County Detention Center. He was dressed in the same clothes he had been wearing when he was arrested.

Simpson, famously acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife, has been charged with leading a robbery last year to get back his own sports memorabilia.

Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass, scolding him for arrogance or ignorance, doubled Simpson's bail and told him to put his Florida home up as additional surety.

Glass ruled Simpson, 60, had violated the terms of bail set in November at $125,000 when he left a profanity laced telephone message for one of his co-defendants with his bail bondsman.

The message, which Simpson's lawyers said they did not dispute, was seen as a bid to dissuade the co-defendant from cooperating with authorities.

Simpson and two co-defendants, Clarence "CJ" Stewart and Charles Ehrlich, face trial in April on a dozen charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery. Simpson is accused of leading a group of men who stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room and took sports memorabilia at gunpoint from two collectors.

Defense lawyers argued Simpson went to the hotel only to recover his stolen belongings and did not have a gun.   Continued...

<p>O.J. Simpson, former football great, appears in court for violating terms of his bail in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas January 16, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking</p>