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O.J guilty of robbery, kidnapping

LAS VEGAS, October 4 – O.J. Simpson was found guilty of robbery and kidnapping here, 13 years to the day after the American football legend was acquitted of brutally murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

After a three-week trial, a Las Vegas jury deliberated for more than 13 hours on Friday on charges against Simpson and a friend arising from an incident at the Palace Station casino in September last year.

Simpson showed no emotion as he and co-defendant Clarence Stewart were found guilty on all charges, which could see both men facing a maximum life sentence.

Shortly after the verdicts were read out just before 11:00 pm (0600 GMT) local time, Judge Jackie Glass denied a request for Simpson to be released on bail and he was led away in handcuffs.

He will sentenced on December 5.

The 61-year-old former American football hero was accused of storming into a hotel room with a gang of gun-toting cohorts and seizing sports memorabilia from two dealers worth thousands of dollars.

Simpson, who did not testify during his trial, said in interviews after his arrest he had only been recovering personal items stolen from his trophy room, and said he was unaware that his cohorts were armed with weapons.

However, four of Simpson’s accomplices on the heist struck plea deals and testified against the sports star during his trial, which played out in low-key contrast to his circus-like 1995 "Trial of the Century."

Defence lawyers argued detectives had rushed to judgement from the early stages of the case, and said prosecution witnesses, including the victims, could not be trusted because they had sold their stories to the media.

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One of the most famous American football players of his generation during a glittering 1970s career, Simpson was the prime suspect in the brutal murders of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994.

Nicole, who had divorced Simpson in 1992 citing his "abusive behaviour," was attacked so savagely she was almost decapitated.

Simpson, who has always vehemently denied the killings, was acquitted of murder after a racially charged Los Angeles trial in 1995, a verdict that was greeted with widespread outrage across America.

Simpson was subsequently found liable for the deaths in a 1997 civil suit and was ordered to pay damages to the victims’ families totalling 33.5 million dollars. He has repeatedly said he will not pay the settlement.

Simpson now lives in Florida, where his home and NFL pension reported to be worth 300,000 dollars a year are protected from damages claims.

The disgraced football legend triggered widespread revulsion in 2006 after plans to publish a book "If I Did It", in which he presented a theory of how Brown and Goldman might have been slain by the murderer, emerged.

The book’s publishers later cancelled the book following the outcry.


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