A key character is waiting to testify in the O.J. Simpson armed robbery-kidnapping trial.
From a downtown Las Vegas hotel, Thomas Riccio, the colorful collectibles broker who arranged the crucial meeting between Simpson and two memorabilia dealers, told The Associated Press by telephone that he was ready and waiting to be called to the courthouse.
“They told me, ‘Anytime from late Tuesday to early Thursday,'” Riccio said. He said prosecutors told him to expect to be on the stand for up to a day and a half and also asked him to “refrain from talking before I testify.”
“I hope they don’t just have to go by what I say,” added Riccio, who said he gave authorities more than 10 hours of audio recorded before, during and after the Sept. 13, 2007, alleged armed robbery in a Las Vegas casino hotel room. “All they have to do is listen to my tapes.”
Simpson and co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart are being tried on 12 charges, including armed robbery, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and coercion. They have pleaded not guilty. A kidnapping conviction could result in a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. An armed robbery conviction could mean mandatory prison time.
Trial was to resume Wednesday with a taped presentation by an FBI forensic audio expert whose appearance was videotaped last month for the jury while he is traveling outside the country.
On Tuesday, surveillance experts from the Palace Station and Palms hotels in Las Vegas provided testimony about videos showing the comings and goings of Simpson; the five men who accompanied Simpson; Riccio; and memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley.
The jury already has heard snippets of recordings made by Riccio, 45, of Los Angeles, who set up the meeting and received immunity from prosecution.
Riccio, who sold recordings to a celebrity gossip Web site before police obtained them, testified at a hearing last November that he saw a gun in the room, but that he was not sure Simpson saw a gun.
Simpson has maintained that no guns were used, and that he only wanted to retrieve personal belongings from Fromong and Beardsley.
Riccio’s lawyer, Stanley Lieber, said he expected Riccio’s testimony would draw contentious challenges from the defense.
“He’s got a past. They’ll play that up,” Lieber said.
Riccio published a book last April that he touted as an inside account of events leading to Simpson’s arrest.
Lieber said he did not know if Riccio gained many takers for his promises to mention commercial products, restaurants and services while the spotlight is on him at the Simpson trial.