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Experts say that just because O.J. Simpson is detested by a large swatch of the public doesn't mean that he is doomed when it comes to his current legal trouble.

Simpson arrested in Las Vegas Sunday night on two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy to commit a crime and burglary with a firearm, police said. The district attorney said he expected Simpson to ultimately be charged with seven felonies and one gross misdemeanor. If convicted of the booking charges, Simpson would face up to 30 years in state prison on each robbery count alone.

He has had several run-ins with the law since what has been called the trial of the century, when Simspon, 60, was charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994.

"There's some big difference between this case and the murder case a dozen years ago, has accomplices, there's a tape and O.J. admits he was there, those are three strong factors for the prosecution," Court TV anchor, Lisa Bloom told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "O.J. says he didn't have the gun on him. But this is a conspiracy case and he's the mastermind."

But in this case, O.J. doesn't enter into this situation with the same negative perceptions that he did twelve years ago.

"Last time, it was the murder of two very innocent people," CBS news legal analyst, Mickey Sherman said. "Here, at worst, at worst, he ripped off or robbed two vultures who participated in keeping items stolen from him."

Although there are questions that the memorabilia did actually belong to Simpson, Bloom said that does not give Simpson, a former Heisman Trophy winner, the right to play Rambo. She said Simpson is a "Teflon defendant" and charges never seem to stick to him.

"Remember in 2001, O.J. was cleared of other felony charges, not the murder charges, he went to trial for road rage in Florida," she said. "The jury acquitted him. For everybody who says O.J. will be found guilty because people hate him, not necessarily."

Simpson has a long list of legal troubles, but none resulted in serious consequences:

  • In 2005, Simpson's neighbor in suburban Miami called the police to report a fight. Police showed up but no charges were filed.
  • In 2004, Satellite television network DirecTV Inc. accused O.J. Simpson in Miami federal court of using illegal
    electronic devices to pirate its broadcast signals. Simpson was ordered pay $33,678 in attorneys' fees and costs.
  • In 2003, police responded to a call from Simpson's his teenage daughter. She said she needed help for "an abuse thing." No charges were filed.
  • In 2002, Simpson paid a $130 fine for speeding through a Florida manatee zone in a 30 foot powerboat on the Fourth of July. An arrest warrant was briefly issued for his arrest.
  • In 2001 Simpson was cleared of all charges in a Florida case involving an alleged road-rage incident.


    An audio recording of the alleged robbery released by TMZ.com identifies an enraged Simpson uttering obscenities to an unknown person. "You think you can steal my (expletive) and sell it?" says the voice identified as Simpson.

    "What that tape says, he's in control, a mastermind, enraged and calling the shots," Bloom said. "Nobody gets to leave."

    It won't be hard for the prosecution to assemble a jury as Sherman says that people will be clamoring decide Simpson's next case because it means they get 15 minutes of fame. In order to get the jury to find him guilty, Bloom says that the prosecutor should look to the Michael Vick case for inspiration.

    "Just like thousands of other ordinary conspiracy cases, get the small fry to flip first and go after O.J.," she said.

    Sherman says it is important for prosecutor to acknowledge that the victims are also shady characters. But whoever is going up against Simpson has to be ready for a fight.

    "We know he will have terrific defense counsel," Bloom said.

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