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Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 16:18 UK

Simpson jury to consider verdict

OJ Simpson arrives for the start of closing arguments in his trial in Las Vegas
Mr Simpson did not testify during his trial

A jury in the US is set to begin its deliberations in the trial of former football star OJ Simpson on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping.

Mr Simpson is accused of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers a year ago.

He faces mandatory prison time if convicted of armed robbery, and if found guilty of kidnapping, he could receive a life sentence.

Mr Simpson, 61, who denies the charges, was acquitted of murder in 1995 in what was dubbed "the trial of the century".

He had been accused of murdering his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1994. The not-guilty verdict shocked many in America.

Mr Simpson was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case and ordered to pay $33.5m (19m) to Mr Goldman's family.

'Arrogance'

Mr Simpson faces 12 charges including kidnap, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon at a court in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The charges against him and his co-defendant, Clarence Stewart, 54, stem from a confrontation with two collectibles dealers in a Las Vegas hotel last September.

Mr Simpson is accused of storming the room with five other men - some of whom were armed - and leaving with hundreds of items largely relating to Mr Simpson's sporting career.

The dealers say the items were theirs to sell.

He has always been the target of this investigation, and nothing else mattered
Yale Galanter
Mr Simpson's lawyer

In closing arguments on Thursday, prosecutors told the jury that Mr Simpson brought a gang of men together to retrieve items he lost while trying to hide them from the family of Ronald Goldman.

Prosecutor Chris Owens urged the jury to convict Mr Simpson, denouncing him for "arrogance" for thinking he could commit a crime "against the dignity and the peace of the state of Nevada".

"The kind of arrogance... that would make them think they could come in and get away with this kind of crime and that nobody would report it and they thought they could spin it that, 'It's all OK; It was my stuff'," he said, the Associated Press reported.

Mr Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galanter, told the jury that Mr Simpson never intended to commit a robbery but had wanted to reclaim personal mementos.

He said that the case had "taken on a life of its own because of Mr Simpson's involvement".

"Every co-operator, every person who had a gun, every person who had an ulterior motive, every person who signed a book deal, every person who got paid money, the police, the district attorney's office, is only interested in one thing: Mr Simpson," Mr Galanter said.

"He has always been the target of this investigation, and nothing else mattered."


SEE ALSO
Jury urged to 'unmask' OJ Simpson
16 Sep 08 |  Americas
OJ Simpson trial jury pick starts
08 Sep 08 |  Americas
OJ Simpson freed on doubled bail
17 Jan 08 |  Americas
OJ pleads not guilty to robbery
28 Nov 07 |  Americas

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