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Simpson could be charged 'in next few days'

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Third person arrested in connection with alleged Las Vegas robbery
  • Court to decide whether to grant bail for O.J. Simpson, spokesman said
  • Simpson arrested in Las Vegas for stealing items he said belonged to him
  • Ex-football star faces robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy charges
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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) -- Prosecutors said they anticipate filing charges "within the next few days," against O.J. Simpson and other defendants in an alleged armed robbery involving sports memorabilia.

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O.J. Simpson is arrested Sunday at a Las Vegas hotel where he was staying for friend's wedding.

A third suspect was arrested in connection with the Thursday incident at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, police said Monday.

Clarence Stewart, 54, was booked on a total of six counts of robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy.

Another co-defendant, Walter Alexander, 46, faces similar charges in connection with the incident, which police said was orchestrated by the Hall of Fame running back.

Simpson is expected to appear in court Wednesday when charges are likely to be filed, Las Vegas Township Justice Court Judge Nancy Oesterle said Monday. She is briefing media on the case.

He was arrested Sunday in Las Vegas, Nevada, on robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy charges, according to police.

A judge must see the arrested person within 72 hours, either in the courtroom or by video, and Zimmerman does all her arraignments in person, Oesterle said.

She said Township Justice Court Judge Ann Zimmerman was reviewing paperwork in Simpson's arrest and will determine whether there is probable cause to detain him past Wednesday.

Las Vegas Township Justice Court Chief Judge Douglas Smith put a "no-bail hold" on Simpson, meaning bail is not an option for him before Zimmerman makes her decision.

Smith considered factors including the likelihood Simpson would flee and his lack of "known ties to the Las Vegas community," according to someone who spoke with Smith, Oesterle said.

Simpson, 60, is at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas. He is being held in isolation because he is a high-profile inmate, Las Vegas police Capt. James Dillon said. Video Watch why Simpson is in jail »

Earlier, there were reports his hearing could take place Monday or Tuesday. Michael Sommermeyer, spokesman for the Clark County District Court said the hearing was scheduled for Monday, but the Web site for the Clark County Detention Center later said the hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

Simpson is accused of leading an armed entourage into a hotel room at the Palace Station Hotel-Casino and making off with several items of sports memorabilia Thursday, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said.

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Simpson walked into the hotel room barking orders, hurling profanities and repeatedly accusing someone of stealing his things, according to a recording that a celebrity news Web site claims came from the incident.

The audio recording on TMZ.com portrays an angry Simpson ordering people to stay in the hotel room and questioning the audacity of the person he thinks stole from him.

"Don't let nobody out of this room," Simpson says to one person in the room before turning his ire on the person he believes took his things. "Mother [expletive], you think you can steal my [expletive] and sell it?"

He asks the latter question several times on the tape before one of the men in the room says, "Mike took it."

Simpson responds, "I know [expletive] Mike took it." A few seconds later, he tells one of the men, "I always thought you were a straight shooter." The man responds, "I'm cool. I am."

TMZ.com is partly owned by AOL, which is part of CNN's parent company, Time Warner.

Simpson says he was merely retrieving items that belonged to him, and that no guns were involved. But one of the alleged victims, Bruce Fromong, described the incident as a "home-invasion type robbery," and police said they've retrieved the guns that were used.

Fromong said Simpson walked in with several companions, two of whom leveled guns at the people in the room. The other alleged victim, Alfred Beardsley, told TMZ.com that Simpson later called him to apologize and said he regretted the incident.

Auctioneer Thomas Riccio told KVVU-TV in Las Vegas on Friday that he informed Simpson someone had called him about selling some of Simpson's belongings on consignment. Simpson told Riccio the items had been stolen, Riccio said.

Riccio, who TMZ.com says is the source of the profanity-laced recording, further told KVVU that Simpson entered the room while Riccio was being shown the items. Simpson did not break in, and there were no guns, Riccio said.

Las Vegas police Lt. Clint Nichols, however, says witness interviews undercut Simpson's story and police have retrieved two guns they say were used during the incident.

"We don't believe anybody was roughed up, but there were firearms involved in the commission of the robbery," Nichols said.

Also, Nichols said, it is debatable whether every item Simpson took from the hotel room belongs to him. Some of the items had Simpson's signature, Nichols said, but there were other things taken, including "some Joe Montana cleats and some signed baseballs and other stuff."

Simpson was booked Sunday evening on two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count each of armed burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, Dillon said.

The robbery counts alone carry prison sentences of up to 30 years each. The other charges carry one- to six-year sentences.

Police retrieved the weapons after Alexander gave them information, leading to three search warrants, Dillon said. Along with the guns, which Dillon said are the same firearms used by Simpson's entourage, police also found property reported stolen and clothes worn by the suspects.

Alexander returned to his home in Mesa, Arizona, Saturday night or Sunday morning after being released from jail on his own recognizance, Dillon said.

Simpson told CNN on Sunday he didn't know why Alexander was arrested, but "the truth will come out."

The Heisman Trophy winner was arrested hours later at his room in the Palms Resort Hotel, where he was staying for a friend's wedding.

Sunday's charges come more than a dozen years after the 1994 stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman.

Simpson was acquitted of murder in 1995. In 1997, a jury found him liable for their deaths in a civil case brought by the Goldman family. Simpson was ordered to pay the Brown and Goldman families $33.5 million.

Fromong, one of the victims in the alleged hotel heist, testified in the civil case that prices for Simpson collectibles had dropped substantially since the 1995 verdict. His testimony buttressed the defense contention that Simpson could not afford to pay the Browns and Goldmans.

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Simpson recently wrote a book originally titled "If I Did It." Simpson had a deal to publish the book, but it was canceled after a public outcry. A bankruptcy judge gave the book rights to the Goldmans.

The Goldmans renamed the book "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer." It hit bookstores Thursday, the same day of the alleged memorabilia heist. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Ted Rowlands contributed to this report.

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