Wednesday, September 24, 2008
O.J. witness says he took plea after 'revelation'
LAS VEGAS -- A former defendant in the O.J. Simpson
kidnapping and armed robbery case testified Wednesday that he
decided to take a plea deal and accuse Simpson in court after God
answered his prayers with a revelation telling him to do the right
Walter "Goldie" Alexander, who meticulously recounted events
surrounding the Sept. 13, 2007, Las Vegas hotel room confrontation,
said Simpson told him and another friend to carry guns when they
went to take back allegedly stolen memorabilia from dealers Alfred
Beardsley and Bruce Fromong.
"He said, 'Just bring guns so they know we mean business,'"
Alexander, the first witness to admit carrying a weapon into the
Palace Station Casino hotel room, faced a pounding
cross-examination by Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galanter, which led him
to complain that maybe he should not have taken a deal and remained
"Then I would not have to say anything, and I would not have to
be badgered by this man," Alexander said.
Judge Jackie Glass told jurors to disregard the remark, but
Alexander and Galanter continued to clash. The judge warned
Galanter to back off after he leaned toward Alexander with a
transcript and asked him whether he had tried to "shake down"
Simpson's friend Thomas Scotto.
"Can you get away from me? I don't like the way you smell,"
Glass told the defense lawyer to keep his distance from
witnesses and tone down his attacks.
Simpson, a former golfing buddy of Alexander's, has said he saw
no guns in the hotel room and did not ask anyone to bring weapons.
Alexander, 47, of Mesa, Ariz., and Simpson were in Las Vegas for
Scotto's wedding. Alexander said that when he arrived, Clarence
"C.J." Stewart, who was acting as the wedding planner, told him
to contact Simpson.
"He said, 'Call O.J. He needs your help,'"' Alexander said,
implicating Stewart - Simpson's only remaining co-defendant - in
the hotel room plan for the first time.
Alexander said he and a friend, Michael "Spencer" McClinton,
met with Simpson, who told them he was going to try to reclaim some
items stolen from him.
"He said, 'Do you think you can get some heat?'"' Alexander
"My friend, Spencer, spoke up and said, 'No problem. I got
plenty of heat. I'm licensed to carry a gun,'"' Alexander said.
He said Simpson told them to bring the guns but not take them
Alexander said McClinton gave him a .22-caliber pistol that he
carried in his waistband while the other man carried a larger gun.
He described a chaotic scene inside the room, with Simpson
yelling at the memorabilia dealers, McClinton waving the gun and
telling everyone to freeze, and Stewart frisking everyone. At one
point, he said, Simpson told McClinton to put down the gun.
Alexander said he quickly realized he was in trouble.
"I was involved in an armed robbery. It wasn't what it was, but
that's how it was going to look to the public," he said.
Later he said Simpson told him: "Just say there's no guns, and
there won't be any trouble."
He said Simpson also joked, "What happens in Vegas stays in
Vegas, unless you're O.J. Simpson," and advised him to get out of
After Alexander was arrested at the airport, he said prosecutors
offered him a deal to testify for reduced charges. After accepting,
he said he tried to back out because he heard that another witness
had been given immunity from prosecution and he wanted that, too.
Asked why he finally accepted the plea deal, he said, "I prayed
on the matter and I had a revelation that I did something wrong,
and the Bible told me I should go tell the truth."
Galanter asked whether God had spoken to him, and he said yes.
"So you needed divine intervention to take the deal?" asked
"I sure did," Alexander said.
Later, Glass ruled that Alexander could not keep a Bible with
him in the witness box. She also told defense lawyers they could
not question him about whether he told authorities he was a real
Galanter argued it was important to show that Alexander lied,
because he allegedly made a living as a pimp, but the judge
wouldn't allow it.
Simpson and Stewart have pleaded not guilty to 12 charges,
including kidnapping, armed robbery, coercion and assault with a
deadly weapon. They face prison if convicted.
The court day began with Glass barring prosecutors from
reminding jurors of Simpson's 1995 Los Angeles acquittal in the
murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend,
Ronald Goldman. She refused to allow Goldman family attorney David
Cook to testify, suggesting the evidence would be prejudicial.
"We are here to decide the case of 2007," she said.
The prosecution wanted Cook to testify about answers Simpson
gave in February 2007 in response to a legal questionnaire about
his assets. District Attorney David Roger said Cook could help show
that Simpson tried to hide memorabilia and avoid paying a $33.5
million civil wrongful death judgment, and that anger at the
Goldmans was a reason he organized the confrontation.
Cook said outside court that the judge "didn't want me to walk
in there with a whole train of ghosts."