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Simpson jury to be set by Friday, judge says

September 11, 2008|From the Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — After a contentious day of lawyers sparring with prospective jurors in O.J. Simpson's kidnapping-robbery trial Wednesday, the judge said it appeared a jury would be seated by Friday or even earlier.

"The end is near, folks!" Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass announced to the remaining weary prospects, who must be questioned before lawyers begin to exercise preemptory challenges and choose the final panel.

"There are people who thought it would take weeks to pick a jury," the judge said. "It will take only a week, maybe less."

She predicted that enough panelists will have been questioned by today to provide the pool of 40 from which the 12 jurors and six alternates can be chosen.

A total of 27 have been cleared, although one prospect's angry outburst led to a defense motion to dismiss everyone because they had heard the comments. The judge refused.

The man, who had waited three days to have his say, blurted out a comment that stunned the courtroom.

"I feel the case down in Los Angeles -- if someone got away with that, you would keep yourself clean and you wouldn't come back and commit another crime," he said.

The judge quickly dismissed him and asked other jurors to disregard his comments, as well as any negative or positive perceptions they might have about Simpson.

Simpson, 61, is accused with codefendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart, 54, of kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes for allegedly stealing items from two sports memorabilia dealers in a hotel room confrontation last year.

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