- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2008

LAS VEGAS | A judge who asked lawyers and prospective jurors to put in 10-hour days to get a jury for the O.J. Simpson kidnapping-robbery case suggested a panel to judge the former football star could be seated early Friday.

“The end is near, folks!” exulted Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass at the end of three grueling days of jury questioning. “There are people who thought it would take weeks to pick a jury. It will take only a week, maybe less.”

Jury selection resumed Thursday morning.

By day’s end Wednesday, lawyers had cleared 27 prospects for the panel from which the final 12 jurors and six alternates will be chosen. Judge Glass said she wants 40 cleared before lawyers begin exercising peremptory challenges, which allow them to remove prospects without stating a cause.

A few of those remaining have been challenged for cause, including bias against Simpson, but the judge rejected the moves.

One man’s angry outburst against Simpson led to a defense motion to dismiss the entire jury pool because everyone had heard it. But the judge refused.

The man, who had been waiting for three days to have his say, blurted out a comment that stunned the courtroom.

“I feel the case down in Los Angeles - if someone got away with that, you would keep yourself clean and you wouldn’t come back and commit another crime,” he said.

The judge quickly dismissed him and asked other jurors to disregard his words. She told them they would have to put aside negative feelings about Simpson’s murder acquittal.

Most prospective jurors have said they disagree with the 1995 verdict to acquit Simpson on charges of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, though many have said they still think they can fairly consider the Las Vegas case.

Simpson, 61, is accused with co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, 54, of kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes for allegedly stealing items from two sports memorabilia dealers in a hotel-room confrontation last year. They have pleaded not guilty.

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