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Judge orders Simpson to stand trial

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Simpson and co-defendants to appear in court November 28
  • Simpson shows no reaction as decision is announced
  • Move is "totally expected," Simpson attorney says
  • Simpson says he went to hotel room to retrieve memorabilia
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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) -- O.J. Simpson must stand trial on charges that could send him to prison for life, Las Vegas Township Justice of the Peace Joseph Bonaventure ordered Wednesday.

O.J. Simpson sits in a courtroom during his preliminary hearing in Las Vegas, Nevada, Wednesday.

He announced his decision on the fourth and final day of evidentiary hearings in a case stemming from a confrontation in a Las Vegas hotel room on September 13.

Simpson's two co-defendants, Charles Ehrlich and Clarence Stewart, were also bound over to stand trial.

Simpson showed no reaction as Bonaventure spoke. Video Watch the judge explain his decision »

Simpson also did not respond to reporters' questions as he left the courthouse.

He, Ehrlich and Stewart are next set to appear November 28 before Eighth District Judge Jackie Glass for a felony arraignment.

The former NFL star's legal team "totally expected" Wednesday's decision, said Yale Galanter, one of Simpson's attorneys, after the announcement.

"The prosecution's burden is slight or minimal," he said.

Simpson, 60, has pleaded not guilty to 12 criminal counts in connection with what prosecutors contend was an armed robbery.

The counts include conspiracy, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, coercion and assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors allege Simpson and five other men burst into a room at the Palace Station Hotel, held two memorabilia dealers -- Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong -- against their will and flashed at least one gun while removing items.

Simpson said he was merely taking back items that belonged to him, but one of the two alleged victims described it as a "military-style invasion."

Three other men initially charged along with Simpson in the incident -- Walter Alexander, Charles Cashmore and Michael McClinton -- testified against him during the preliminary hearing under the terms of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Alexander and McClinton testified Simpson requested they carry guns and "look menacing" during the incident.

In making his ruling, Bonaventure said many issues raised during the hearing by defense attorneys for Simpson, Ehrlich and Stewart -- including intent, whether kidnapping occurred and the credibility of the witnesses who testified -- should be sorted out by jurors at trial.

During the hearing, Ehrlich's attorney John Moran referred to those who testified as an assortment of "crackheads, groupies, pimps, purveyors of stolen merchandise ... con artists, crooks."

The defense called no witnesses.

In his testimony, Fromong said he had bought the memorabilia legally.

Bonaventure, however, acknowledged the ownership of some of the items was "at least questionable."

Simpson has denied asking anyone to carry weapons or knowing any guns were used in the confrontation.

According to earlier testimony, Fromong and Beardsley were offering more than 600 Simpson-related items for sale, including ties Simpson wore during his criminal trial for the 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.

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Simpson was acquitted after one of the most sensational trials in American history, but a civil jury later found him liable for their deaths, slapping him with a $33 million judgment.

In the years since, attorneys for the Goldman family have doggedly pursued Simpson's financial assets to pay the judgment. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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