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Closing arguments near in Simpson robbery trial
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O.J. Simpson arrives for the start of closing arguments in his trial at the Clark County Regional Justice Center Thursday, October 2, 2008 with daughter Arnelle, right, in Las Vegas. Simpson is charged with a total of twelve counts including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon stemming from an alleged incident involving the theft of his sports memorabilia. - photo by Associated Press

    LAS VEGAS — The jury in O.J. Simpson’s armed robbery and kidnapping trial began hearing instructions on the legal elements of the case Thursday after a judge settled disputes about their wording, and closing arguments were scheduled to follow.
    Simpson and co-defendant Clarence ‘‘C.J.’’ Stewart are being tried on allegations that along with four other men, they confronted two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel almost 13 months ago in attempt to recover mementos that once belonged to the former NFL star.
    Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass made rulings on wording of jury instructions, including one on the definition of robbery. Her decision ended hours of closed-door wrangling between defense attorneys and prosecutors Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.
    The panel consists of nine women and three men. It has no black members but includes one woman who identified herself as Hispanic, court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer said. Jury selection questionnaires have not been made public.
    Neither Simpson nor Stewart, who are black, testified before the prosecution, and defense lawyers rested their cases Wednesday after a last-minute dispute over a witness’ testimony threatened to derail the more than two-week trial.
    Each man has pleaded not guilty to 12 criminal charges, also including conspiracy, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and coercion. They face five years to life in prison if convicted of kidnapping, or mandatory prison time if convicted of armed robbery.
    Simpson was acquitted in 1995 in Los Angeles of criminal charges that he murdered his ex-wife and her friend. He was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case.
    AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report.

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