Page last updated at 20:26 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 21:26 UK

OJ Simpson trial jury pick starts


OJ Simpson has arrived at Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas

Jury selection is under way at a court in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the trial of former US football star OJ Simpson.

Mr Simpson was arrested last September for allegedly robbing at gunpoint two sports memorabilia dealers in a hotel.

He faces 12 charges including assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and burglary. If found guilty he could face life in prison.

Mr Simpson, 61, and his co-defendant, Clarence Stewart, 54, have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Mr Simpson's legal team has said he was trying to retrieve stolen memorabilia that belonged to him from a Las Vegas hotel and has denied that any guns were involved.

Polarising figure

Arriving at the Clark County Regional Justice Center, Mr Simpson declined to answer reporters' questions, but smiled and waved when someone called out "Good luck!"

Prosecutors, defence lawyers and District Judge Jackie Glass have used 26-page questionnaires to identify jurors with biases and cut the pool from 500 to fewer than 250 candidates.

Selecting the 12-member panel and four alternatives could take a week or longer, court officials said.

Some legal experts wonder if Mr Simpson's notorious past - instead of the facts - may decide the case, the BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Los Angeles reports.

In 1995, in what was billed as America's trial of the century, Mr Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Later he was found liable for the deaths in a civil case and ordered to pay millions to Mr Goldman's family.

Mr Simpson has remained a polarising figure in American popular culture ever since, our correspondent says.

OJ Simpson freed on doubled bail
17 Jan 08 |  Americas
OJ pleads not guilty to robbery
28 Nov 07 |  Americas

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