Angry Judge Doubles O.J. Simpson's Bail
LAS VEGAS (AP) - An angry judge doubled O.J. Simpson's bail to $250,000 on Wednesday for violating terms of his original bail by attempting to contact a co-defendant in the armed robbery case against him.
Simpson, clad in jail attire, grimaced as the amount was announced and meekly acknowledged that he understood.
"I don't know Mr. Simpson what the heck you were thinking—or maybe that's the problem—you weren't," District Judge Jackie Glass told Simpson during the hearing.
"I don't know if it's just arrogance. I don't know if it's ignorance. But you've been locked up at the Clark County Detention Center since Friday because of arrogance or ignorance—or both."
Glass said that the order to not contact other defendants was clear and she warned that if anything else happened Simpson would be locked up. She warned him against contacting anyone else in the case, and barred him from leaving the country.
Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, said he did not know how long it would take for Simpson to post bail, but it could be a few days. Tom Scotto, a Simpson friend who owns an auto repair shop in Florida, said he and several other people were trying to get him freed by the end of the day.
The former football star was picked up Friday in Florida by his bail bondsman, Miguel Pereira of You Ring We Spring, and was brought back to Nevada for violating terms of his release.
The district attorney charged that Simpson left an expletive-laced phone message Nov. 16, telling Pereira to tell co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart how upset Simpson was about testimony during their preliminary hearing.
"I just want, want C.J. to know that ... I'm tired of this (expletive)," Simpson was quoted as saying. "Fed up with (expletives) changing what they told me. All right?"
Galanter stipulated during the hearing that Simpson made the call, and the judge did not allow it to be played. But Galanter also accused Pereira of providing Simpson's bail for the publicity.
Outside court, Galanter said the judge's decision was "appropriate, judicious, and correct," but insisted Simpson had not made an effort to contact the co-defendant. "Mr. Pereira is a piranha," Galanter said.
Simpson, Stewart and a third defendant, Charles Ehrlich, pleaded not guilty Nov. 28 to kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, coercion and conspiracy charges. A kidnapping conviction could bring a life sentence with the possibility of parole. An armed robbery conviction carries mandatory prison time.
Three other former co-defendants have pleaded to lesser charges and testified against Simpson at the preliminary hearing.
Simpson has denied any knowledge about guns being involved in the confrontation with memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley. He has said he intended only to retrieve items that had been stolen from him by a former agent, including the suit he wore the day he was acquitted of murder in 1995 in the slayings of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.