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Simpson jurors say recordings were key

October 06, 2008|Ashley Powers | Times Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS — In the end, O.J. Simpson did himself in.

Jurors who convicted the football great and his codefendant, Clarence Stewart, of 12 counts each said Sunday that hours of secret recordings convinced them that the men had robbed two memorabilia dealers at gunpoint last year.

Though Simpson's attorneys, for example, said he never saw a weapon or asked anyone to bring one to a Palace Station hotel room, he was secretly taped afterward talking about "the piece."

The recordings, which also captured Simpson planning and carrying out the armed robbery and kidnapping, trumped possibly suspect testimony of four former codefendants, jurors said at a courtroom news conference.

During nearly three weeks of testimony, the defense painted the witnesses as willing to say anything to pocket money or avoid prison. Relying solely on them, jurors said, could have devastated the state's case.

Simpson attorney Yale Galanter has suggested that the jury of nine women and three men -- 11 whites and one Latina -- convicted him as "payback" for his 1995 double-murder acquittal. Galanter plans to make jury selection a cornerstone of his appeal.

But jurors said that Simpson's trial in the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman had no bearing on their verdict, which could send Simpson to prison for life. The conviction came on the 13th anniversary of Simpson's acquittal, but panelists said they hadn't realized that.

"We've been painted as an all-white jury that hates O.J.," said Dora Pettit, one of seven jurors at the news conference. "That's not true."

Pettit said she prayed for Simpson throughout the trial and said it was "unfortunate that he's facing the same charges as somebody who robbed a bank."

Juror David Wieberg said, "I always thought you had to tie someone up and transport them somewhere else" to be convicted of kidnapping.

But under Nevada law, he said, that isn't true.

Pettit said of Simpson: "I think he's an ordinary man that made a bad decision."

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ashley.powers@latimes.com

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