Defense seeks minimum 6-year term for O.J. Simpson

Wed Dec 3, 2008 4:18pm EST
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By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson's lawyers have asked he receive the minimum sentence of six years in prison for his October robbery and kidnapping conviction, calling a recommendation of 18 years "inappropriate and knee-jerk."

Simpson, famously cleared of double-murder charges in the "Trial of the Century" in the 1990s, was found guilty on October 3 in the armed robbery of a pair of memorabilia collectors at the Palace Station hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

The 61-year-old former football star and his co-defendant, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, are scheduled for sentencing on Friday and could face life in prison for their conspiracy, burglary, kidnapping, robbery and assault convictions.

"Simpson has never previously been convicted of a crime. Thus, he now stands before the court as a first-time offender," defense attorney Gabriel Grasso told the judge in court papers filed in advance of Friday's sentencing hearing.

Grasso called for Simpson to be given the minimum term of six years behind bars, adding, "Such a sentence would be a sufficient reflection of both the nature of the case as well as the first-time offender status of the defendant."

A report filed by the probation officials has not been made public, but according to the defense, it calls for Simpson and Stewart, 54, to be sentenced to 18 years behind bars.

Grasso called the report "invalid" because he said probation officials had not followed the usual rules, which he said require them to assign each defendant a score based on factors that include prior criminal history.

"The defense would further suggest that if a valid ... score were present within this report it would not support the completely inappropriate and knee-jerk recommendation," Grasso wrote in his brief.   Continued...

<p>O.J. Simpson points in the courtroom before hearing a verdict of guilty on all counts following his trial at the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas October 3, 2008. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Pool</p>