Vegas police talked of ‘getting’ Simpson on recording

AS VEGAS (AP) âÄî Jurors who have been told to refrain from judging O.J. Simpson on his past heard a recording Thursday of a police employee exulting: âÄúThis is great. … California canâÄôt get him âĦ Now weâÄôll be able to.âÄù Police detective Andy Caldwell conceded the statement was made as a team of officers examined a casino hotel room where Simpson is accused of having led a kidnapping and armed robbery. Caldwell said the comment came from a civilian employee of the police department, not a sworn officer. The comments were picked up on a digital recorder that had been secretly placed by Thomas Riccio, who had arranged a meeting in the hotel room between Simpson and two sports memorabilia dealers that escalated into a confrontation last year. Riccio testified later Thursday that a plan to recover the former football starâÄôs personal property worked perfectly âÄúuntil the gun came out.âÄù âÄúThey were giving it back,âÄù Riccio said of the dealers. âÄúThere was no reason for the gun to come out.âÄù Simpson and co-defendant Clarence âÄúC.J.âÄù Stewart have pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, armed robbery, coercion and assault with a deadly weapon. Four former co-defendants have agreed to testify. Simpson has said he didnâÄôt ask anyone to bring guns and that he didnâÄôt know anyone in the room was armed. Stewart maintains he relied on SimpsonâÄôs assurances that he was only going to recover some personal property. SimpsonâÄôs lawyer, Yale Galanter, pressed Caldwell on the recorded statement that referred to getting Simpson. He asked if police were conducting âÄúwhatâÄôs supposed to be an unbiased investigation.âÄù Caldwell said they were. âÄúAnd theyâÄôre prejudging him; they want to get Mr. Simpson?âÄù Galanter asked. âÄúI canâÄôt say what someone else is thinking,âÄù Caldwell said.