January 13, 2008 / 12:54 AM / 11 years ago

O.J. Simpson in custody for calling co-defendant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson, famously acquitted of murder in 1995, was taken into custody on Friday after prosecutors asked a Las Vegas judge to revoke his bail for trying to contact a co-defendant in an armed robbery case.

Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson ducks into a car outside the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada September 19, 2007. Simpson was taken into custody in Florida on Friday after prosecutors asked a judge to revoke his bail and return him to jail while he awaits armed robbery and other charges. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Clark County District Attorney David Roger told a judge in court papers that Simpson, who is accused of leading an armed robbery of his own sports memorabilia from the Palace Station Hotel and Casino on September 13, should be jailed for trying to dissuade the co-defendant from cooperating with authorities.

A court spokeswoman said the football star-turned-actor had been taken into custody in Florida, where he now lives, by his bail bondsman and was being brought to Las Vegas for a hearing into the matter on Wednesday.

If District Court Judge Jackie Glass finds Simpson, 60, violated the conditions of his $125,000 bail, he could be held in jail until the trial.

Simpson and two co-defendants, Clarence “CJ” Stewart and Charles Ehrlich, face trial in April on a dozen charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery, in the case and could face life in prison if convicted.

Roger asserts in court papers that Simpson, whose reputation was left in tatters after the “trial of the century” in which he was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, violated his bail terms by leaving a profanity-laced message for Stewart with the bondsman.

“After being admitted to bail with the conditions set above, defendant (Simpson) attempted to dissuade a co-defendant from testifying and cooperating with law enforcement,” prosecutors charge in the court papers.

Simpson’s defense attorney, Yale Galanter, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prosecutors say Simpson led five accomplices in stealing the memorabilia at gunpoint from Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley. Walter Alexander, Charles Cashmore and Michael McClinton were also charged in the case initially but agreed to plead guilty and testify for the prosecution.

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

Simpson, who parlayed his fame as an athlete into a career in Hollywood, was acquitted of the June 12, 1994, murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman after the sensational trial that transfixed much of the world.

A civil court jury later found Simpson liable for the deaths and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages to the victims’ families, a judgment that remains largely unpaid.

Editing by Peter Cooney

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