O J Simpson wanted guns in Vegas incident-witness

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LOS ANGELES, Nov 13 (Reuters) A man who was with O J Simpson during an armed confrontation over sports memorabilia in a Las Vegas hotel room told a court today the former star athlete told him to bring a gun.

Walter Alexander, testifying against Simpson as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, said the onetime football star who was acquitted in 1995 of killing his wife and another man, raised the issue of bringing weapons during a meeting at the Palms hotel earlier on Sept 13, the day of the incident.

''He asked if we could bring some heat in case something goes wrong,'' Alexander said on the third day of a Las Vegas court hearing to determine whether Simpson and two other men should face trial on 12 criminal charges in what prosecutors call an armed robbery.

''He (Simpson) said, 'It shouldn't be any problem but in case there are any problems, can you bring some guns?'' Alexander said.

Simpson, 60, is accused of plotting and leading the armed robbery of his own memorabilia from a pair of collectors, Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong, at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino.

Simpson is charged along with Clarence Stewart and Charles Erlich with conspiracy, kidnapping, armed robbery and burglary.

All three could face life in prison if convicted.

Alexander and Charles Cashmore have pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for their cooperation. Michael McClinton, who is accused of waving a gun in the hotel room, has agreed to plead guilty.

Another man who was with Simpson during the incident, Thomas Riccio, testified last week that the former star running back made no mention of guns while helping plan the incident and was bent on retrieving his own stolen property.

Simpson, who parlayed his fame as an athlete into a career in Hollywood, was acquitted of the June 12, 1994, murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman after the sensational trial that transfixed much of the world.

A civil court jury later found Simpson liable for the deaths and ordered him to pay .5 million in damages to the victims' families, a judgment that remains largely unpaid.

Reuters RC VP0135

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