LAS VEGAS (AP) — O.J. Simpson is going to prison. The question is for how long.
The former football star who ran through airports in rental car ads and walked away a free man after a celebrated murder trial will learn Friday how much time he’ll spend in a Nevada state prison for a botched attempt to recover sports mementoes and personal items from two collectibles peddlers.
Neither Simpson, a Hall of Fame football player who was acquitted of the 1994 slaying of his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles, nor his co-defendant and former golfing buddy, Clarence “C.J. Stewart, testified before they were convicted Oct. 3 of 12 criminal charges including kidnapping and armed robbery.
Now they face mandatory prison time — a minimum of six years and up to life.
Simpson attorney Yale Galanter has said Simpson won’t address the court.
Stewart will, said his lawyer, Brent Bryson.
“Best case scenario we’re hoping for is six years. That’s the bottom-end number before being eligible for parole,” Bryson said.
Simpson lawyer Gabriel Grasso said he expected Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass would keep the proceedings short.
“She wants to hear from the lawyers and she wants to hear from the defendants. That’s about it,” Grasso said.
Their lawyers said the two men were expected to appear in court in blue jail scrubs after the judge denied their request to let them wear suits and ties. Glass refused a similar request at a Nov. 7 hearing at which they appeared in shackles while she denied requests for a new trial.
District Attorney David Roger is not expected to call witnesses, spokesman Dan Kulin said.
Glass, a tough sentencing judge, can ignore or accept a sentencing report from state parole and probation officials who recommended Simpson, 61, and Stewart, 54, serve a minimum of 18 years to life.
That would be the total if minimum penalties for two counts of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of armed robbery with use of a deadly weapon run consecutively. Penalties for assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, coercion and conspiracy would be folded in with that term, under the parole recommendation.
Glass received written pleas for leniency from defense lawyers and is expected to rule on a request to let Simpson post bail and be freed from jail while he appeals his conviction.
Simpson attorney Yale Galanter has said he intends to file an appeal quickly with the Nevada Supreme Court, the state’s only appellate court.
“Notwithstanding the jury verdict,” Grasso said in a brief seeking Simpson’s release, “Simpson continues to maintain his innocence.”
Jurors who heard 13 days of testimony and spent 13 hours deliberating said after the verdict that they were convinced of Simpson’s guilty by audio recordings middleman Thomas Riccio secretly made of the Sept. 13, 2007, Palace Station casino hotel confrontation with sports memorabilia brokers Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong.
“Don’t let nobody out of this room!” Simpson commands, and instructs other men to scoop up items he insists had been stolen from him earlier.
Glass is scheduled Tuesday to sentence four former co-defendants who took plea deals and testified against Simpson and Stewart. Michael McClinton, Charles Cashmore, Walter Alexander and Charles Ehrlich each could get probation or prison time. McClinton could get up to 11 years; the others face less.