Return to Transcripts main page


More Details of O.J. Simpson Burglary Arrest

Aired September 16, 2007 - 16:00   ET


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORREPONDENT: Well, Alina. As you mentioned, O.J. Simpson is in custody. He's in the building behind us. We're awaiting more information from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. We understand that a press conference is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Pacific time, not Eastern time. There was a little bit of mix up there and we thought it was starting within the next half hour. It will be 4:00 p.m. Pacific that they are estimating that they will give a full briefing as to what is happening.
According to a source very close to this investigation, Simpson was taken into custody at the Palms Hotel this morning and was brought directly here. From here, he will have to go to, according to a police spokesman, just came out and gave us a little briefing, he'll have to go to the Clark County Detentional Facility to be booked. So, he's going to be in custody for a while. And it's unclear if he will be able to make bail.

This of course stems from an investigation that started Thursday night, after police received a call there had been a robbery, an armed robbery inside a hotel room off the Las Vegas strip, and one of the alleged people involved was O.J. Simpson. They took statements last night and they have been interviewing people throughout. Basically, what the allegations state is that four men and O.J. Simpson, a total of five people went into a hotel room and at gunpoint, took out about $75,000 to $100,000 worth of memorabilia that is the estimate that the alleged victims have put on the merchandise taken out of room. Since then, O.J. Simpson has confirmed with CNN during numerous telephone conversations that indeed he was there, indeed he did take stuff out of that hotel room. But that it was his stuff that had been stolen years before. He said he didn't, nothing wrong, he didn't use any weapons, he didn't use any force, he just went to get what was his. He said when he walked in and they noticed that it was me, they said, 'hey, O.J.' and they gave me all my stuff back. He did admit to being angry and raising his voice at times. But he said what would you do if you knew someone was trying to pawn off your old items, including photographs of you and your family and your children? So, that's a different story than police are hearing from the victims and police seemed to be believing the victims' account a little bit more instead of O.J. walking in and taking his stuff back. it was O.J. and four "thugs," that's how they were described by one of these alleged victims, came in. Two of them were toting guns, and at gunpoint they took that memorabilia -- those items out of that room.

Police sources have recovered two guns that they believe were used in this situation and they believe they obviously have enough to arrest him because that is exactly what they have done. And according to the AP, he is facing "numerous or several felony charges, including armed robbery," and as you heard, we've been talking about today, that is serious stuff. He's looking at, if found guilty down the line, potentially doing some jail time.

CHO: So, to be clear, just a clarification for our viewers who have been with us for a while is that that news conference on the part of Las Vegas authorities will be taking part at 4:00 p.m. Pacific time, meaning 7:00 p.m. Eastern, just a little less than three hours from now. Ted, just a quick question for you. I knew you spoke on the phone with Simpson just this morning and he gave no indication that he was expecting any arrest in this case, in terms of him being arrested, right? He did talk about him being questioned.

ROWLANDS: Yes, he told me this morning that he knew one of his friends, one of the other people in this had been arrested Friday night. He said, "I don't know why they arrested him." And then he went on to say after I asked him, 'would you think you're going to be next. You think you're going to be arrested? And so he said, 'I have nothing to hide. I've been cooperating from the very beginning with Las Vegas Police. I'm in contact with them. He said, "in the end, the truth will come out." But he didn't seem to think that within about 90 minutes, because that's what happened. As 90 minutes later, he would be taken out of the Palms Hotel in handcuffs.

CHO: All right. Ted Rowlands, we thank you for joining us from Las Vegas. And stand by for us with any new details as we await a news conference in the next three hours or so from Las Vegas authorities there.

In the meantime, we want to get to Pamela Bethel. She's a criminal defense attorney, former federal prosecutor. She's on the phone, in D.C., with us.

Pamela, getting reports from the Associated Press that police say that O.J. Simpson is facing multiple felony charges, including robbery with a deadly weapon, even though by all accounts, he wasn't carrying the gun. How serious is this?

PAMELA BETHEL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it's still serious. I mean, if this is viewed as a home invasion, which is the way it seemed that the police are viewing it. The fact that he wasn't carrying a gun isn't that going to be important. It's other people with him who were in fact carrying guns.

CHO: Now, tell me about the next 48 hours or so. I remember sitting here the last 24 hours ago saying the next 48 hours would be critical. Clearly, at that point, we did not know there would be this arrest of O.J. Simpson in the case but given what has happened, what is next?

PAMELA BETHEL: Well, what's next is they are going to have to book him. I don't know if he can be arraigned this evening. It's what 1:00 p.m. Sunday, a little after 1:00 p.m. in Nevada, so it depends on whether or not they have a judge there that can set a bail for this and in fact if O.J. can make bail.

CHO: All right. Pamela, stand by. We want to bring in criminal defense Attorney B.J. Bernstein. You've handled a lot of high profile cases. How do you handle a guy like O.J. Simpson?

B.J. BERNSTEIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, he's a tough person to handle clearly. Because he talked to Ted Rowlands 90 minutes before he was arrested today. That is not what any criminal defense lawyer is going to want to see.

CHO: It's your worst nightmare.

BERNSTEIN: It is your absolute worst nightmare. You know, he's talked to Ted more than once. I mean, it's not and he's talking to the police. And hopefully he's done that with counsel if you're looking at it from the defense perspective.

CHO: And also. we're already, we're looking at some possibly conflicting statements. First, he said no guns, absolutely no guns involved in he incident. Now, not so sure. Maybe there were guns. Not so sure I saw any guns. So, that's a problem.

BERNSTEIN: That's a problem. And the part of me that used a be a prosecutor, in fact, I remember when the...

CHO: We have scenes on that.

BERNSTEIN: ...original O.J. Simpson case, I was a prosecutor then and you, his case changed how almost all of America knew about trials and knew so much about cases and knew so much about the rules of court. You would think the one person to have learned something from it, that it may speak of him himself and how he is, he didn't learn and he's been talking.

CHO: All right. We've got senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin on the phone from New York. Jeffrey, we talked a bit earlier about this. Now we have learned since we last had you on the line that O.J. Simpson faces reportedly, according to the Associated Press, multiple felony charges including robbery with a deadly weapon. This is some serious stuff, isn't it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It is very serious stuff. And the first question is, will he be granted bail? Because given the seriousness of the crime, given the fact that he doesn't live in Nevada, given the fact that he has a history of at least being accused of fleeing, the famous low speed chase with Al Callings, when he was charged in the murder of his wife and Ronald Goldman. You know the prosecution is not going to be in any hurry to give him bail. And the question is, how much money does he have, how much property does he have to put up as security. And frankly, I don't know what the answer to that is.

CHO: Well, let's talk a little bit about going down the line here because, we were speaking with Kendall Coffey earlier, the former U.S. attorney, who intimated that at the end of this year this may still be going on. So, given that let's talk about the possibility of a fair trial. You told me earlier it's going to be hard to find people who haven't heard of O.J. Simpson but that doesn't mean he can't get a fair trial. TOOBIN: Well, that's not the standard. It doesn't have to be people who haven't heard of O.J. Simpson. It has to be people who, given what they do know about O.J. Simpson, can still follow the judge's instructions on deciding the case on the evidence. And that is a very different standard than someone who has never heard of him. I mean, the people who were the jurors in the Michael Jackson case had all heard of Michael Jackson and many of them had not very very good impressions of him but they listened to the evidence and they acquitted him. So, I don't think... if this case goes to a trial, I bet you could get a jury that would agree to listen to the evidence and decide it accordingly.

CHO: But let's talk a little bit more about this because I'm getting e-mails from a very close friend of mine who lives in Las Vegas. Clearly, in that community, in addition to everyone in the nation, but clearly in the Las Vegas community, they're watching that case very, very closely. So given that, is it likely that if there is a trial that it moves outside of Las Vegas?

TOOBIN: Well, it's possible but you never know what the defense strategy will be. If this case goes to trial, the defense might want an inner city jury. You know, Las Vegas is a much more ethnically diverse part of Nevada than any other part of Nevada is. So, it's a mixed bag to have a jury pool where people know the defendant very well. I'm not prepared to say that it would be better for O.J. Simpson to try this case in rural Nevada where he would likely get a change of venue than in Las Vegas.

CHO: Let's talk a little bit about his notoriety, Jeffrey. You know, how do you defend a guy like this who, by your account and by most accounts, most of the nation really doesn't like too much?

TOOBIN: I think you make use of the notoriety. You say that because O.J. Simpson is so famous, is so infamous, that the police rushed to judgment, that they were so anxious to get O.J. Simpson, they didn't listen to all the evidence that they were overly anxious to try him. So, it is not an entirely bad thing, to be that well-known. You can make a. a clever defense lawyer could try to try at least to try to make a jujitsu move out of this.

CHO: Jeffrey, you pointed out earlier, I don't know how you got this information but he needs to find a lawyer in short order if he hasn't already but given that, the area's most well-known defense attorney is the mayor?

TOOBIN: Is the mayor, Oscar Goodman, who is involved in some of the most notorious cases in recent Las Vegas history. He's a real character. He could only be the mayor of Las Vegas, that's for sure, given his background but there are plenty of lawyers there and lots of people who will want a high profile case like this. So, I don't expect it will be -- it will be difficult for O.J. to get a lawyer but he better get one soon or he will be spending at least this night in jail and perhaps many more.

CHO: I know you covered the murder trial. Hard to believe it's been 12 years since that but Jeffrey, given that, how do you explain why Simpson has made so many statements to the media, when, by all accounts, including yours, he really should just zip it, stay quiet, right?

TOOBIN: Well, just because people -- people's characters don't change. He is someone extremely self-confident, knows a lot. Basically believes in his own ability to talk himself out of trouble and this is how he operates. He talks a lot. One of the things, you know, I used to talk about people who are O.J. junkies, who followed the case so closely. The biggest O.J. junky of them all was O.J. himself. So, he is someone who is an extremely voluble, talkative person even when good sense suggests he should do otherwise.

CHO: Good point and valid point. We appreciate your analysis, CNN Senior Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Please stay with us, we want to get back to you in short order.

But the headline being for those of you who is just joining us, O.J. Simpson, the ex-football star under arrest in Las Vegas. We got CNN'S Ted Rowlands on the ground in Las Vegas. He has spoken with Simpson. We also have Avery Freeman and Richard Herrman, our legal eagles who love to spar. We're going to have all of that on the other side of the break. Stay with us.


CHO: Hi, everybody. It's about a quarter past the hour, 4:15 p.m. on the east coast. I'm Alina Cho at the CNN Center in Atlanta. We want to bring you up to date on some breaking news. He was under suspicion, now under arrest. The headline today -- O.J. Simpson in police custody in Las Vegas in connection with an armed robbery of sports memorabilia at a hotel casino. We got CNN's Ted Rowlands on the ground, at the police station in Las Vegas, where we await a news conference in the next few hours. Ted, we understand from the Associated Press, O.J. Simpson faces multiple felony charges including robbery with a deadly weapon. I know you spoke to him by phone today. What did he tell you?

ROWLANDS: Well, we spoke this morning about 90 minutes before he was arrested. I called him to ask him for a response to an arrest that took place last night. One of his associates, a man from Arizona, was on his way to the Las Vegas Airport and according to a source with the Las Vegas Police Department, was arrested. I called O.J. and he said, 'yeah, I've heard about the arrest.' He said, 'I don't know why they would arrest him.' Then I asked, if you think you're next? Do you think you're going to be arrested as well? And he said, 'listen, I've been in contact with the police department. I'm not going anywhere. I've been telling the truth from the beginning. There is nothing there. There's nothing to arrest me for what basically, what he was saying and then he said, "the truth will come out."

And then 90 minutes later, he was in handcuffs at the Palms Hotel, brought to this facility behind me, and that's where he is right now, being questioned by police. It's unclear whether or not he has an attorney yet, a local attorney and whether or not any attorney is with him in there and whether or not he is talking, something he has done obviously a lot of. Whether or not he's talking without an attorney present, we just don't know but we do know, that apparently, according to police, they are going to take him from there and book him formally, most likely at the Clark County Detention Facility downtown. It is now getting about 1:30 Pacific time. Whether or not he'll be able to be afforded some sort of bail scenario and be arraigned by an on-call judge is up in the air. Most likely, he'll be spending the night in jail here in Las Vegas.

CHO: Ted, I know there may be additional arrest, perhaps as many as four in the coming hours or the coming days, as we await charges against O.J. Simpson. This is a Sunday afternoon. I think it bears repeating for those who are not up to date on what happened who may just have heard something about O.J. Simpson. Take us back to Thursday night, tell us what happened. You've spoken to both Simpson and the alleged victims. What do you know?

ROWLANDS: Approximately 8:00 p.m. Thursday night, at the Palace Station Casino, it's an off the strip type of casino, there was a call that was made from there to the police, saying there had been an armed robbery in one of the rooms and one of the suspects was O.J. Simpson. According to the alleged victims in this case we have talked to, they say that they were expecting a buyer of memorabilia, these are dealers, they said they had a lot of material that they brought for this meeting, thinking they were going to make a huge sale. They said that they had $75,000 to $100,000 worth of merchandise, that's their estimation. And the door burst open, and it wasn't a buyer but it was four "thugs," two of them with guns drawn and the last man into the room, according to one of the witnesses and one of the alleged victims, was O.J. Simpson and he was screaming at them. He said that O.J. looked around the room and said, 'that's mine! that's mine! that's mine!' and then berated them because they were associates at one time, and said, 'how could you do this to me?,' took the stuff at gunpoint and left.

Now, O.J. Simpson has a different story, saying, 'yeah, I was there. I heard they had my personal effects that were stolen from me years ago back at the Rockingham address in Los Angeles after the acquittal in the criminal trial, stuff that he has talked about publicly as being missing. He says he got wind that they have photos of him, his family, Nicole and photos Nicole had taken. She was a photographer and so, he wanted them back. He said he went there with friends pretending to be buyers. And they just went into the room. He said that when they saw it was O.J. 'when they saw it was me, they said 'oh sorry, O.J., sorry, O.J., and gave him his stuff. The bottom line is the police say, a source close to the investigation says they recovered two guns and they've made an arrest and now they have arrested O.J. Simpson so clearly they believe the accounts of the alleged victims more than they do the account of O.J. Simpson.

CHO: We got a legal team on hand as well but Ted, I just got one more quick question for you, without revealing too much, we like to have some transparency in our reporting, I'm just curious -- I know you covered the murder trial, is hat how you got to Simpson. I know you've spoken to him many times. Do you have a relationship or have you maintained contact with him over the years?

ROWLANDS: No, actually, I did not cover the murder trials 12 years before.

CHO: My apologies.

ROWLANDS: I was not in Los Angeles. I've just become acquainted with Mr. Simpson lately, will leave it at that and have formed some sort of relationship, speaking relationship.

CHO: Well, we certainly have gotten lots of great information. We appreciate your reporting and Ted we're going to check back with you on the other side of the break but once again, out of Las Vegas, the headline being today that O.J. Simpson is under arrest, in connection with an armed robbery of sports memorabilia. We got a lot of legal eagles on hand and we'll have much more after the break. Stay with us.


CHO: Welcome back, everybody. I'm at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

I want to bring you up to date on some breaking news -- out of Las Vegas today, late this afternoon, ex-football star and hall of famer, O.J. Simpson, until now, under suspicion, rather, now, under arrest in connection with an armed robbery at a hotel casino in Las Vegas, of sports memorabilia. Simpson telling our very own Ted Rowlands that he was simply taking back what was rightfully his. We got some legal eagles back with us, Avery Friedman, civil rights attorney in Cleveland and Richard Herrman, back with us, defense attorney in New York. OK, guys, want to know... Let's go to you first, Avery, are you surprised by this arrest and that coming so soon?

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: We predicted it 24 hours ago, I think. I mean, the truth is, we're right back to the same issue. Your honor, your first witness, Ted Rowlands. You know, obviously, O.J. hasn't been watching. If he had any common sense at all, he would employ two words, shut up! He keeps talking and talking and talking and he's incriminating and incriminating.

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, Alina, he's delusional. He thinks that somehow it's a defense because the items were stolen and he's just going to retrieve his items, doesn't matter that he went with four or six other people with them. It doesn't matter if maybe one of them had a gun or not, doesn't matter if he broke into the room and he screamed and scared them and retrieved it. It was his stuff and it was stolen. So, he thinks it's a defense. Unfortunately, that's not a defense and he will get convicted if that's the scenario that goes down. And we talked about surveillance cameras yesterday and I was involved in a high profile assault case with a record company owner where in the MGM Hotel, they kept everything under surveillance, it was an impossible defense. That might be what's going to happen here. The guy is standing outside the room.

CHO: Clearly, clearly guys, there is surveillance video. I mean, we're talking about Las Vegas and we're talking about this happening in a hotel casino. But Richard, interesting that you should say all this, given that you're a criminal defense attorney. So, let's talk about O.J. Simpson, the man, the notoriety, famous, some would say infamous, how do you defend a guy like this?

HERMAN: Well, Alina, the problem is district attorney is a political office. And boy O.J. is a great feather to put in your cap as D.A., even though he's not alleged to have wielded any guns or anything. You know, and there are other guys that are much more culpable than him but you know, if they made an agreement to go in there and he knew anybody had a gun, you know, like the Michael Vick case, everybody rolled but Michael Vick. And that's what's going to happen here, on him. They will roll on him.

CHO; Avery, let's talk about that. Because what do you do from a prosecutorial standpoint, do you turn the other guys against O.J. because he's the big fish?

FRIEDMAN: Well, that's exactly what's going to happen. But there's even a more immediate issue and that is that in order to get out of jail, Alina, he's got to post bond. Well, as soon as he does that, what's going to happen? We're going to hear from the Goldman's again. They're going to try to attach that money. What in the world is this guy going to do to get out of jail? He's a real flight risk.

HERMAN: Well, he'll be able to post the bond and once the money is released, I think the money is going to Fred Goldman's family but you know, he may have to stay in prison tonight because it's Sunday night. I don't know too many judges that are processing cases on Sunday night.

CHO: So that the thing, I mean, the next steps in this case I understand from our Jeffrey Toobin is an arraignment,. Police, according to the Associated Press says he faces multiple felony charges, including robbery with a deadly weapon, even by all accounts he wasn't wielding the weapon himself but this is serious business, isn't it?

FRIEDMAN: And remember Jeff made very clear that O.J. based on his history is somewhat of a flight risk. That's one of the two factors the judge has to keep in mind.

CHO: Oh come on, he wouldn't jump into a bronco again, would he?

FRIEDMAN: He's not going to get to the bronco, Alina. You know, he's not going to get there.

HERMAN: For O.J., Elvis has not left the building. This is going to be on going. He's going to get processed. You know, Alina, if they were at a wedding and someone said, 'hey O.J., we found someone that has some of your personal items and he said, 'wow, let's go over there' and he knew that any of those guys had guns with him. He, I'm telling you, he is in major major trouble here. He is going to try to negotiate a quick deal. I don't agree that he's a flight risk. He's too high profile a guy. He is going to make bail, going to be posted bail and he's going to get out tomorrow. He's absolutely, I don't know who's going to put the money up but he's going to get out tomorrow and this is going to be and interesting resolution in this case.

FRIEDMAN: And it answers the question -- What stays in Vegas? The answer -- O.J.

CHO: Well put, guys. I can talk to you all day on this but

FRIEDMAN: You're not going back to New York, Alina. They're going to glue you to the seat there.

HERMAN: It's beautiful up here today, Alina. We miss you. I don't know.

CHO: Well, eventually, I'm going to get on a flight. Whether today or tomorrow, we'll have to see what happens. A lot of news to report today. All right, guys. Richard Herrmann, criminal defense attorney. Avery Friedman, civil rights attorney, out of New York and Cleveland, respectively.

We thank you guys for joining us and we're going to check back with you later, I'm sure.

Again, the headline for those of you just joining us today, O.J. Simpson under arrest in Las Vegas. We're going to have much more after this break. Stay with us.


CHO: Half past the hour, here's what's happening, O.J. Simpson in custody. Las Vegas police arrested the former NFL star today in connection with the alleged armed robbery at a Vegas hotel earlier in the week. Also reportedly recovered, two firearms which may have been involved in this alleged theft. We'll have the very latest on this story ahead.

The other big story is we're following the crash of a Budget airliner in Phuket, Thailand, 87 people are dead, 43 amazingly survived. The National Health Ministry says the One-Two-Go passenger jet skidded off the runway in some bad weather conditions, including strong cross winds. We'll have the latest on this developing story just ahead as well.

Welcome back everybody; I'm Alina Cho at the CNN Center in Atlanta. We want to go straight to CNN's Ted Rowlands who is in Las Vegas at the police station where presumably O.J. Simpson is still inside, being questioned by police. Ted, what do you know at this hour?

ROWLANDS: O.J. Simpson is still inside, according to police spokespeople that have come out periodically and given us little briefs. It's unclear whether he's cooperating or in discussions with police or just waiting inside this building. He will be taken from here to another facility to be processed. At that point, the determination will be made whether or not bail is even a possibility at 1:30 Pacific Time on Sunday afternoon, whether that can even be accommodated. A good chance he'll spend the day in jail.

This of course comes after an investigation that started Thursday night, after the alleged armed robbery took place in an off strip casino. O.J. Simpson was one of the alleged suspects in this. The alleged story was that four men came into a hotel room, took out thousands of dollars worth of memorabilia and they had guns drawn at the time they entered the room and used guns throughout the alleged robbery, that according to the alleged victim.

O.J. Simpson tells a different story, tells CNN on many occasions that he was there, didn't do anything wrong, he says that he went in there to get his own stuff, his personal belongings that he heard were being sold on sort of a black-market, in a black-market scenario. That is one thing we should keep in mind here as we move forward, talk about how great a case this possibly is, as you fast forward, your main witnesses inherently have a shady edge to them because of the fact they had this material, they were selling in a hotel room. It appears obviously, there's enough to arrest O.J. Simpson, enough probable cause, and they had that right away after the first call.

The real question is, if you fast forward, if there is a jury trial here, will the jurors believe the guy who is involved. The whole thing is a bit shady. O.J. Simpson told me this morning on the phone about 90 minutes before he was arrested, that quote the truth will come out. We shall see.

CHO: We should remind our viewers Ted that we are awaiting a news conference by Las Vegas authorities that is coming at about 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, so what about 2 1/2 hours from now. Stay right there Ted because we are going to check back with you in a little bit.

In the meantime we want to get defense analysis, criminal defense attorney B.J. Bernstein with us. B.J. it looked like from the Associated Press, police are saying that O.J. Simpson faces multiple felony charges, including robbery with a deadly weapon, this is some serious stuff, even though by all accounts, he wasn't holding the gun himself. If in fact guns were involved.

BERNSTEIN: Even without the guns, he's facing 2 to 15 years. The adding of the guns doubles the amount of time, up to 30 years in prison. It is a very serious charge, even though you don't have the gun. The idea behind it is robbery, if you and I are sitting here and I intimidate you or do something to cause you fear and take something from you, even if I believed it belonged to me, it doesn't make it right. That's one thing we keep hearing, Ted Rowlands had this interview with O.J. and O.J. talks about these items belonged to him. Under the law, we don't allow self--help repo.

CHO: The lesson here if a crime was committed, you don't take the law into your own hands.

BERNSTEIN: O.J. should have made a call when he saw those items and realized what they were, he could have called the police and the police would have been on his side.

CHO: All right. B.J. Bernstein a criminal defense attorney stay right there, don't go away.

But in the mean time another facet of the story we're monitoring, the Internet has been abuzz since the news of Simpson's arrest came alive. CNN's Josh Levs monitoring that part of the story. Josh what have you seen on the Web? JOSH LEVS, CNN DOT COM DESK: We have seen a lot of responses today. Let me paint the big picture. The blogs are part of the story and here is why. People all over the country has really strong feelings about O.J. Simpson and have ever since the trial. That's why the fascination, that is why so many people are being galvanized by what's happening right now. A lot of people with very intense feelings. It's 2007, what do you do with those? Go to the blogs in many cases. The blogs are firing up. Very interesting to see what's going on. A lot of people with a lot of passionate responses, everything we're seeing so far, virtually everything is against O.J. Simpson.

Let me read you some of the big ones here, this one that was posted on the Las Vegas review journal Website. This one says, "I hope the courts can lock this s.o.b. up a long time. He has it coming for what he did to the Goldman and Brown families."

This one from, "I'd waitor a guess that the juice was just searching for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman's killers that is his full time job since he was found not guilty back in 1995."

Let's do just a couple more here. Interesting blog pretty popular, looks like from the traffic. A couple plays on the words here you will recognize.

"If O.J. Simpson does protest, you must arrest. It looks like what happens in Vegas really does stay in Vegas, including O.J. Simpson, after his arrest this morning."

Another harsher one that we are seeing here, a lot of sardonic humor, a lot of people with a lot of feelings, I'm bringing blogging, "Technically, do you really need to be armed to be O.J. Simpson and rob someone. I'd think that just having O.J. Simpson break into your place with a bag of feathers and glitter would be horrifying enough."

People are jumping on this story. The blogs are firing up. If you are interested you can send your response directly to CNN, go to and click on I-report it is in the top right. We don't take everything straight to air, we really go through it, we edit, and we talk to people and will be bringing some of your responses here through out the day. Alina let me tell you one more thing, I just checked, in his book "If I did it" that was number two, right underneath Alan Greenspan's new book, still very, very popular. The story and what was written in that book.

CHO: I might add a sad commentary on society. All right. Josh Levs watching that part of the story and some clever bloggers by the way. We'll check back with you. I know you're watching that very closely.

Now the headliners for those of you joining us, O.J. Simpson under arrest in Las Vegas in connection with an armed robbery, a sports memorabilia there. Simpson has maintained from the start that those items in question were his to begin with. That he was taking back what was rightfully his. Those items weren't exactly priceless. In fact memorabilia dealers we spoke to say Simpson's memorabilia star power faded a long time ago and the value of his memorabilia along with it. For this story we go to CNN's Thelma Gutierrez.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In a tiny Las Vegas strip mall. Rick NARA wheels and deals in the high stakes world of sports memorabilia.


GUTIERREZ: He's a 20-year veteran who's done big business with the biggest names in sports. Mickey Mantle, Joe Theismann, Gale Sayers. He's also done business with one of the most know notorious, O.J. Simpson.

NARA: That was the day he came in here, we had it signed.

GUTIERREZ: This poster, $150, a signed photo, $50. His football jersey $300. Here in Rick's shop, this football with O.J.'s autograph runs about $150, but back in the day prior to O.J.'s legal trouble, Rick could get about twice as much.

NARA: There are collectors out there that wanted a suit worn by O.J. at the trial. They might pay up to at least maybe $10,000.

GUTIERREZ: But O.J. Memorabilia is a sore subject for Rita, Rick's wife and business partner.

You didn't want to make money from it?

RTIA NARA, RICK'S WIFE: Oh, absolutely not! And I don't want to pay him a penny. I made him promise me that he would not have him again, have him come in the shop again.

GUTIERREZ: But Nara cringes every time the star falls from grace, because it affects his bottom line.

RICK NARA: It's like the stock market. You're there and then down. His rookie card at one time, 1970 rookie card from Topps went from $300 down to $30.

GUTIERREZ: And O.J. wasn't his only hit.

MARTY RODICK, SPORTS RADIO HOST: We're talking about Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson. Pete Rose, Michael Vick and O.J. Simpson. And, you know, each and every one of these guys were at the top of their game.

GUTIERREZ: Nara says with time even painted memorabilia can regain its value.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Las Vegas, Nevada.


CHO: We want you to stay right here with CNN because after the break, we will have the other top headlines of the day including a plane crash on the resort island of Phuket, Thailand.

We're also watching this O.J. Simpson story very closely, the headline being O.J. Simpson under arrest in Las Vegas. After we go to break, we are going to hear from Denise Brown, the sister of the slain Nicole Brown Simpson on "Larry King Live" last night.


DENISE BROWN, SISTER OF NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON: If there was a gun involved or something like that. Wouldn't it be ironic that he can get away with murdering two people yet he might be put way for burglary because there was a gun involved? Crazier things have happened.



CHO: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Alina Cho at the CNN Center in Atlanta. We'll get to more of O.J. Simpson's arrest in Las Vegas in just a moment.

But first, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan is firing on fellow Republicans, including President Bush, his book called "The Age of Turbulence" to be released tomorrow. Says Republican leaders abandoned their stated principles launching government spending sprees that led to huge deficits. His model of fiscal sanity, Bill Clinton. For more on the story we turn to Kathleen in Washington. Hey Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon. The former Fed chairman pulled no punches in this memoir. Alan Greenspan criticized President Bush for failing to veto a single spending bill until almost six years into his presidency calling it a major mistake. Greenspan blasts Republicans saying they deserve to lose control of Congress in the 2006 elections, because they were fiscally irresponsible. They swapped fiscal for power. And they ended up with neither, they deserved to lose. I am saddened it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows. The Iraq war is largely about oil. The reaction today from both sides of the aisle.

REP. TOM LANTOS, (D) CALIFORNIA: To a very large extent, I agree with him. I think it is very remarkable it took Alan Greenspan all these many years and being out of office for stating the obvious.

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I have a lot of respect for Mr. Greenspan. I've known him a long time. I disagree with that. I wasn't here for the decision-making process that started the war. I know the same allegation was made about the Gulf War in 1991, and I just don't believe it's true.

KOCH: White House reaction to Greenspan's fiscal criticism, deputy press secretary Tony Fratto today insisting in a statement that quote at any rate, where we ended up on economic policy was right, as our records show.


CHO: Kathleen Koch in Washington. Kathleen thank you very much.

Straight ahead IN THE NEWSROOM. Dozens of people killed when their plane crashes and splits in two, that deadly plane crash happening in Phuket, Thailand, we will have much more on this story on the other side of the break. Stay with us.


CHO: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Alina Cho at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Want to bring you up to date on the story we've been following all afternoon. Late today we got word that O.J. Simpson, the ex-football star is in police custody, under arrest in connection with an armed robbery at a hotel casino involving sports memorabilia that Simpson says was rightfully his. We're awaiting a news conference and we have an update that that news conference will come in the next 90 minutes or so at 6:30 Eastern Time.

Police news conference where presumably authorities will talk about the arrest of O.J. Simpson, charges pending, that coming at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

In the meantime, we want to get to other news. Halfway around the world, a fiery plane crash has killed a reported 87 people and but amazingly more that 40 people survived. The Budget airliner was taking tourists to the coastal town of Phuket in southern Thailand. We get that story from CNN's Relisa (ph).


(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE), CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Reporter: It happened just after touchdown at a popular Thai resort. The plane torn into two, skidded off the runway, erupting into flames and travelers reported frightening as the plane came in and horror as it came apart.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): You could tell it was in trouble because the land came up again, the second time, just smashed.

(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): Another survivor said they quote saw passengers engulfed in fire, as I stepped over them on the way out of the plane end of quote. William Harding was on board another flight and watched as the disaster unfolded.

WILLIAM HARDING: It was a weird thing. I've never seen it where all of the inside of the plane was just inflames, with the black smoke floating up from it. After just a little bit, after a few minutes, there was a little explosion, kind of blue a hole in the top of the fuselage.

(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): Witnesses say survivors dashed from the plane as it began to burn from the inside. Hospital officials say many suffered severe burns; it's the worst air disaster in Thailand in nearly a decade. Early indications show the plane might have been hit by a microburst, a sudden gust of wind, knocking the plane down sharply. Aviation expert, Jim Ickey says the airport doesn't have the latest wind shear detection gear making approaches in bad weather risky. (UNIDENTIFIED MALE): There's almost zero margin of error, once one of those downdrafts hits you and you can't see in from of your more than 50 feet, you're in serious trouble.

(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): The plane is an American made MD 82, a two engine work force with a good safety record. Teams of experts are now combing through the debris, looking for a cause.

Belita (ph), CNN, Atlanta.


CHO: Other news we're following today, expect a big up tic in news coverage for missing 4-year-old Madeleine McCann, the girl's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann are planning a huge advertising blitz to keep the case in the public eye. The couple is also getting some unexpected help to clear their name from any suspicion.

Last week, they were named suspects and now billionaire Richard Branson has pledged $200 thousand for the McCann legal defense fund. The McCann's have maintained from the start that they had no part in their daughter's disappearance. Police in Portugal believe otherwise, naming them as suspects just last week.

This programming note CNN's Anderson Cooper will have much more on the disappearance of Maddy McCann, that is Monday night at 10:00 pm Eastern Time on a special edition of A.C. "360."

Some out of control wildfires burning out west. We are going to get the very latest on that from our own Jacqui Jeras, right after the break, you're in the NEWSROOM.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hello everyone. I'm CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras with today's allergy reports. We've seen some improvements across parts of the west, especially in California and Nevada. Even the Great Basin is doing better; we don't have the red here, which means very high levels of pollen. As it goes eastward into the Plain states, across parts of Kansas and into Oklahoma and those of you in the east have been suffering with moderate to high levels, we're watching for improvement across parts of the southeast and also the northeast.


CHO: Welcome back, everybody. Out of control wildfires have chased about 2,000 people from their homes in southern California. This is the scene today near Big Bear in the San Bernardino National Forest, east of Los Angeles. The blaze has charred more than 15,000 acres, just this weekend. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for the county.

Just to the south, a second blaze is burning in San Diego County. That wild fire broke out yesterday and grew to 1,000 acres over night. The weather isn't helping out in California. Meanwhile, chilly weather here in Atlanta, beginning to feel like fall, Jacqui Jeras. She has an update for us. JERAS: Yes, we will start out with the fire conditions because it's really critical across parts of the southwest, through Nevada and southwestern parts of Utah. A second area up here because of strong winds into Wyoming and Panhandle of Nebraska and the western parts of South Dakota. A very strong wind and relative humidity, along with that a prolonged drought that spells a big mess for fire conditions.

We have an upper level disturbance here starting to shift more off to the east. We do expect some gradual improvements with the winds. But overall, certainly not great conditions for today. Plenty of sunshine. Temperatures a little bit cool here. You can see the winds around Big Bear Lake area; they are coming in around out of the southwest around 15, 16 miles per hour. That smoke is going up into the north from the east and at times you can smell that smoke all the way into Las Vegas, believe it or not, some near 200 miles away.

We're also looking at some showers and thunderstorms across the west. A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for eastern parts of Utah and western Colorado and northern parts of Arizona, including the Flagstaff area. Large hail and damaging winds is the biggest concern. Actually the biggest weather maker across the country in terms stormy weather outside of a little bit of action across central and southern parts Florida. Cold air will be the rule we think across the Great Lake and into the northeast the next couple of days. Frost and freeze advisory, temperatures gradually warming up little bit though by the middle of the week. And really warming up into the Plains already be tomorrow. Look at that back to 91 again.

CHO: All right. Jacqui Jeras thanks for the update.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.

O.J. Simpson back in trouble, back in police custody. Details now emerging of his arrest today in Las Vegas. Fredericka is off today. Hi everyone, I'm Alina Cho. Thanks for joining us.