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O.J. Jury Selection Begins

O.J. Simpson appears in court during the first day of jury selection for his trial at the Clark County Regional Justice Center Monday, Sept. 8, 2008, in Las Vegas. Simpson is appearing in court on charges which include burglary, robbery and assault following an attempted robbery at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino in September 2007. (AP Photo/John Locher, Pool)
AP Photo/John Locher
Nearly a year after O.J. Simpson walked into a casino hotel room intent on reclaiming some sports memorabilia, he and his lawyers walked into a courthouse Monday to pick jurors for his robbery-kidnapping trial.

The fallen American football star, actor and advertising pitchman, and his remaining co-defendant, Clarence "C.J" Stewart, a 54-year-old golfing buddy, have both pleaded not guilty to 12 charges stemming from a heated encounter last September with two sports collectibles dealers peddling Simpson memorabilia at a Las Vegas hotel-casino.

Simpson's arrival at the Clark County Regional Justice Center on Monday morning was much more subdued than previous appearances at the courthouse, with no protesters and few people to greet him.

He declined to answer questions, but smiled and waved when one person called out "Good Luck!"

Simpson has said he put his faith in the jury system and was confident of an acquittal - a conviction could put him in prison for life.

Lawyer Robert Lucherini lost several last-ditch bids to get the Nevada Supreme Court to postpone or sever Stewart's trial from Simpson's.

He argued Stewart can't get a fair trial before a jury sure to know about Simpson's Los Angeles murder trial in the 1990s. Simpson was acquitted in the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. After the "Trial of the Century," Simpson was found civilly liable for the deaths and ordered to pay a $33.5 million judgment to Goldman's family.

Prosecutors, defense lawyers and Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass have used 26-page questionnaires to identify prospective jurors with biases and cut a jury pool of 500 to fewer than 250.

Clark is a no nonsense judge, who has already scolded Simpson for trying to contact a witness, reports CBS News correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

Jury selection still could take a week or longer, court officials said.

When the 12-member panel and six alternates are seated, the prosecution will tell them that Simpson and Stewart walked into the casino hotel room on Sept. 13, 2007, with four other men and robbed the sports collectibles peddlers at gunpoint of items that Simpson said had been stolen from him.

Simpson, 61, who has been living in Miami, maintains he didn't ask anyone to bring guns and that he didn't know anyone in the room was armed.

Simpson and Stewart have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include burglary, coercion and assault with a deadly weapon. A robbery conviction would mean mandatory prison time. A kidnapping conviction carries the possibility of life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Four of the men who accompanied Simpson pleaded to lesser felony charges and agreed to testify for the prosecution. But Simpson defense attorney Yale Galanter says he got one of those four men to admit that he would have slanted his testimony in Simpson's favor if the price was right.

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