CARSON CITY, Nev. -- A request from O.J. Simpson's last
remaining co-defendant to delay the Sept. 8 start of the pair's
armed robbery and kidnapping trial was rejected Thursday by a
divided Nevada Supreme Court panel.
In a 2-1 decision, Justices Bill Maupin and Ron Parraguirre
refused to stay Simpson and Clarence "C.J." Stewart's upcoming
trial, and rejected Stewart's petition for a separate trial.
The brief majority order said justices "are not satisfied that
this court's intervention by way of extraordinary writ is warranted
at this time."
Justice Michael Cherry dissented, saying he would have granted
the stay. He called for an answer from prosecutors to the petition
for separate trials.
Stewart's attorney, Robert Lucherini, did not return calls
seeking comment on whether he would ask the high court to
Lucherini appealed to the Supreme Court after Clark County
District Judge Jackie Glass refused to halt proceedings. Glass
delayed the start of the trial once in April and vowed not to
postpone it again.
Lucherini argued it will be impossible for Stewart to get a fair
trial sitting next to Simpson, the NFL Hall of Fame player, actor
and advertising pitchman who was acquitted in 1995 in Los Angeles
of criminal charges that he murdered his ex-wife and her friend.
Simpson was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case.
Simpson and Stewart are charged in a Sept. 13, 2007,
confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers at a casino hotel
room in Las Vegas. Four men who accompanied Simpson and Stewart
have accepted plea deals and agreed to testify.
Simpson and Stewart each face 12 charges, including felony
kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. A
kidnapping conviction carries the possibility of life in prison
with the possibility of parole, and a robbery conviction would mean
mandatory prison time.
Simpson maintains that he went to the hotel room to retrieve
items that had been stolen from him, that he didn't ask anyone to
bring guns and that he didn't know anyone in the room was armed.
The trial is expected to take at least five weeks. A kidnapping
conviction carries the possibility of life in prison with the
possibility of parole, and a robbery conviction would mean
mandatory prison time.