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October 22, 2014

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O.J. Simpson trial:

O.J. Simpson accomplices who testified get probation

Four made plea agreements to testify against NFL great

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Steve Marcus

Michael McClinton testifies during O.J. Simpson’s trial at the Clark County Regional Justice Center Friday, Sept. 26, 2008, in Las Vegas. Simpson faces 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy.

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008 | 12:39 p.m.

Four of the men who accompanied O.J. Simpson last year during the now infamous raid of a Palace Station hotel room will not serve any jail time.

District Court Judge Jackie Glass sentenced Charles Cashmore, Charles “Charlie” Ehrlich, Michael McClinton and Walter Alexander just after 9 this morning.

The accomplices all fulfilled plea agreements to testify against Simpson during his three-week long trial in exchange for lesser charges.

Glass assigned suspended sentences ranging from 12 to 84 months, effectively putting the men on probation and sparing them from doing any jail time.

The judge sentenced Simpson and his co-accused, Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, on Friday. Simpson, 61, received 33 years in prison without parole until at least 2017 while Stewart, 54, was handed a 27-year prison term and parole eligibility after 7 1/2 years.

District Attorney David Roger failed to offer Stewart a plea agreement before the trial began on Sept. 15. Stewart’s lawyers said unlike the four others, their client went to trial because he “didn’t have anything to offer” prosecutors in terms of inside knowledge.

McClinton received the harshest sentence of the four cooperating witnesses, an 18 to 84-month suspended sentence and up to eight years probation. He received two concurrent terms, 12 to 48 months and 24 to 84 months, after pleading guilty to robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

He testified during the trial that Simpson asked him and Alexander to bring "some heat” and “look menacing” during the raid.

McClinton brandished his .45 caliber Ruger P345 during the six-minute confrontation inside Palace Station room 1203 and gave Alexander his .22 caliber Beretta handgun to use.

He originally faced the same dozen robbery, kidnapping and weapons charges that Simpson and Stewart were convicted on. Thanks to his plea agreement, however, he plead guilty to just two counts.

Despite the deal with the D.A., Glass could have sentenced him to up to 11 years in jail for his role in the hold-up.

Alexander, meanwhile, could have been sentenced to as many as six years for his involvement but instead received a suspended sentence of one to two years and up to four years of probation.

The Mesa, Ariz., resident plead guilty to the single charge of conspiracy to commit robbery.

During the trial defense attorneys alleged that Alexander tried to extort $50,000 from Simpson, Stewart and two other mutual friends in exchange for favorable testimony.

Alexander denied the allegations but admitted he offered “see what (he) could do” for Simpson if someone paid for his legal fees.

Simpson’s lawyers later tried to have him impeached because he told the court and signed sworn statements claiming he makes his living in real estate. They alleged that Alexander is a pimp, not a real estate agent as he has claimed.

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Charles Ehrlich testifies during O.J. Simpson's trial in Las Vegas, Monday, Sept. 22, 2008. Simpson faces 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy.

"It made it sound like ... he's got some Century 21 office and he's there every day somewhere when we know that's not the truth," Simpson’s lawyer, Gabriel Grasso, said.

Glass disagreed and refused to impeach him for not being truthful during the preliminary hearing.

"Whether he's a real estate agent, a truck driver, a dog catcher, or anything else, and whether he admitted that he was or wasn't a pimp, doesn't go to his motive for testifying in this court," Glass said.

The remaining two accomplices, Ehrlich and Cashmore, faced up to five years behind bars for their connection to the robbery.

Both men attended what prosecutors described was a pre-raid poolside planning session at the Palms hotel and later helped fill boxes and pillowcases with various memorabilia items and helped remove the collectibles from the hotel room.

Ehlrich received a suspended sentence of 18 to 48 months and up to three years of probation. His sentence reflects two suspended, concurrent terms of 12 to 48 months and 18 to 48 months for attempted burglary and attempted accessory to robbery.

Cashmore, meanwhile, was given a 12- to 36-month suspended sentence and up to three years of probation after pleading guilty to accessory to robbery.

McClinton turned himself in to police five days after the incident, on Sept 18, 2007, and signed a plea agreement on Oct 29.

Alexander was arrested at the McCarran International Airport on Sept. 15, 2007, and agreed to testify against Simpson a month later in exchange for reduced charges.

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Walter Alexander, right, asks O.J. Simpson's attorney Yale Galanter to back away as Galanter cross examines him during Simpson's trial in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008. Simpson faces 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy.

Ehrlich turned himself in eight days after the altercation but the Miami, Fla., resident didn’t sign a plea bargain until Aug. 4, 2008.

Cashmore, who lives in Las Vegas, surrendered to police on Sept. 19, 2007, and cut his plea deal less than a month later, on Oct 15.

In addition to their suspended sentences and probationary terms, all four will have to perform community service as part of their punishment.

McClinton and Alexander will also have to complete behavioral classes.

The middleman who arranged the meeting between Simpson and the memorabilia dealers, Thomas Riccio, was given immunity from prosecution in exchange or his cooperation.

He famously and secretly tape recorded the exchange inside the hotel room by hiding a recording device on the top of a wardrobe. The tape, which includes several hours of audio including recordings of investigators as they processed the scene, was used as evidence against the accused during the trial.

Riccio later sold a clip of the six-minute confrontation to the gossip Web site TMZ for $150,000. He did not, however, volunteer the evidence to police until after the sale was made and investigators heard about it online.

Other recordings Riccio made in the days leading up to and following the bizarre run-in were also used as evidence though none of the digital files could be verified by FBI analysis.

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