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Two codefendants plan to testify against O.J. Simpson in Las Vegas robbery case

Times Staff Writer

Two of O.J. Simpson’s codefendants in an armed robbery case have agreed to testify against him, increasing pressure on the former pro football star and his legal team.

Walter Alexander and Charles H. Cashmore had each faced nine felony charges -- including kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon -- in connection with the alleged theft of about $80,000 in sports memorabilia from two collectors at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino.

Alexander and Cashmore each will plead guilty to a single felony count during a hearing scheduled for Oct. 23, their attorneys said Monday. Alexander could face up to six years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery; Cashmore could face up to five years for an accessory to robbery charge. The men’s attorneys said they would ask for probation.

Simpson, 60, and three other men are scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing in November. If convicted on the 10 felony counts he’s charged with, the Heisman Trophy winner could face life in prison.

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“O.J. is the big fish,” said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor and a former federal prosecutor, “and I think prosecutors are trying to line up everybody to point the finger at him.”

Simpson’s attorneys could not be reached for comment.

Alexander, 46, is an Arizona real estate agent and a longtime Simpson golfing buddy. His lawyer declined to comment as to what his testimony might include.

At the time of the incident, Simpson and some friends were in Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding. On Sept. 13, they attended a pre-ceremony dinner. Cashmore, 40, was working as a cook and bartender, said Cashmore’s attorney, Edward Miley.

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Afterward, Cashmore reportedly had a drink with Simpson and codefendant Clarence J. Stewart Jr., 53, of Las Vegas, with whom Cashmore had worked in the mortgage industry.

Simpson asked Cashmore to help him move some things, and the men drove to Palace Station, where Simpson had been told that some memorabilia belonging to him was being offered for sale, Miley said.

Cashmore, his attorney said, can testify that Alexander and co-defendant Michael F. McClinton, 49, of Las Vegas were armed. He can also testify as to who was in the room and what they said, the lawyer said, possibly lessening prosecutors’ reliance on an audiotape that one of the men in the room had recorded.

Cashmore and codefendant Charles B. Ehrlich, 53, of Florida were captured on surveillance videotape carrying boxes out of the hotel room, police said. When he was taken into custody, Cashmore turned over some of the missing memorabilia to police.

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Cashmore apologized in a statement Monday to his family, friends and “anyone else who may have been hurt by my actions.”

“Coming [to court] today is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” the statement said. “But as my mother proudly taught me, doing what’s right isn’t always the easiest thing but is always the right thing to do.”

ashley.powers@latimes.com


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