The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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NV vs. Simpson – “I’m More than One of the OJ Guys, I am a Person!”

Posted by thedarwinexception on November 10, 2007

Charles Cashmore is the next witness the state calls to the stand in the case of NV vs. Simpson et al. Cashmore was originally charged as a co conspirator with the myriad of charges facing him that Simpson, Stewart and Ehrlich find themselves facing. The state gave him a deal where he will plead guilty to accessory to robbery, with a sentence to be determined after he testifies truthfully in this matter. From the stand Cashmore pointed out that he faces a sentence which ranges from probation to 5 years in prison.

Charles CashmoreAnd you do have to sympathize with Cashmore to some degree. He is the stereotypical “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people” kind of guy. He knew nothing of the plan to recover OJ’s stolen property, either by force or otherwise and in fact had never even met OJ before that night. He didn’t know Riccio, or the victims, and besides Clarence Stewart, a friend for some five years, he didn’t know any of the players that night.

Cashmore was there that evening only to talk to Stewart about a job. He was going to help Stewart with teh party and BBQ for the wedding party that OJ was in Vegas to attend. He knew that OJ was going to be one of the guests, Stewart had told him that much, and Stewart asked if Cashmore would like to meet OJ. He directed Cashmore to the Palms hotel bar and told Cashmore to go up to OJ and introduce himself, that OJ was expecting him. Stewart said that he had a few things to do, and he would join them directly.

When he met with OJ, OJ asked him if Stewart had “filled him in” on what was happening, and Cashmore, thinking OJ was talking about  the BBQ and party that weekend that Cashmore would be helping Stewart with, said “yes.”

So Cashmore and OJ sat in the bar of the Palms Hotel, talking, having a cocktail and waiting for Stewart to arrive. When Stewart finally came, OJ and Cashmore walked down to the SUV Stewart had arrived in. This was the first time that Cashmore was made aware that it wouldn’t be “just the three of them”, since the SUV was carrying other people that Cashmore had never seen before.

This was also the first time Cashmore was told about what was to transpire that evening. Once they were in the SUV on the way to the Palace Station hotel, Stewart asked him if he would mind going with the group to “pick up some of OJ’s memorabilia”. At that point, Cashmore really had no choice but to agree. He was already in the SUV, which was already headed to the Palace Station hotel.

While in the SUV the plan was formulated to have Charles Ehrlich and Cashmore to pose as the buyers, and they would enter the hotel room first, verify that the items they found were what they purported to be, and OJ would follow soon after if it was determined that they were.

To that end, Ehrlich and Cashmore were dropped off at the front of the hotel and told to wait for “the go between”, Riccio, and to follow him to his hotel room. When Riccio showed up, he was not comfortable with the plan, and suggested that they just all go back to the room together to “get this done”, so the entire group, including two guys Cashmore had not seen in the van, but who OJ showed up with, went down the twisting and maze like hallway to Riccio’s room where Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong waited with the items.

Cashmore said that there was no mention of guns in the van or in the hallway as they planned to go to the room. The only mention of firearms was when the black guy with the bald head, who he later learned was named McClinton, asked Riccio if the the sellers were armed, and Riccio quickly brushed off the notion, saying “Oh, no, no you don’t have to worry about that.”

Cashmore testified that after the group entered the room “It was very heated and very quick.”

Cashmoire testified that OJ Simpson was very angry when he saw not only his things spread out on the bed in the hotel room, but also who seemed to be in possession of them. Cashmore said that he seemed to know the men, and was screaming and cursing at them with phrases such as “I can’t believe you did this to me. I thought you were my friend” and “How dare you thing you can steal my shit from me?”

Cashmore said that at some point in the commotion, McClinton, one of the two men Simpson had brought to the lobby with him when joining Cashmore and Ehrlich, took out a gun and was waving it around the room. Cashmore said that he also saw a gun in the waistband of the other man who had joined them in the lobby, but that this man never took his gun out.

Cashmore said that he was confused at this point and that since he knew none of the participants, he felt like the outsider and wanted nothing but to defuse the situation. Since the man with the gun was yelling at the sellers to “put the shit in the boxes”, he grabbed a pillowcase from the bed and started stuffing things into it, simply to comply and to “get it done”.

When everything was loaded in boxes and pillowcases, he and Charlie took the boxes and bags to Charlie’s car. In his pillowcase, He testified that he carried a box of photos, some ties, some prints and a pillowcase stuffed with footballs.

Once everyone was back in the car, OJ got on the phone. Cashmore didn’t know who he was talking to, but he was insisting hat there were no guns involved, that he didn’t want anything that wasn’t his, and that he couldn’t believe that “you did this to me.”

Cashmore testified that no one in the SUV corrected OJ on the “there were no guns” statement, although Cashmore knew that he had seen two guns, one which had been pulled. He said he personally didn’t say anything because “there was fear in me.”

While in the SUV, OJ told the group that he didn’t want the items that weren’t his, and that they would need to be returned to the front desk of the hotel. Cashmore offered to return the phone and some of the Montana prints to the hotel. Cashmore said he wasn’t sure where the cell phone came from, since he hadn’t seen it being taken from anyone. Stewart was to call him with the name of the person he was to leave it for.

Cashmore then said that he never did return the items to the front desk of the hotel, since Stewart never did call him with a name, and that the next day, when he did talk to Stewart and asked him about who he was supposed to leave it for, Stewart said OJ wasn’t going to give it back, and “Fuck OJ”, that Cashmore and Stewart would keep the items, sell them, and split the proceeds.

Once the police got involved, and the charges and arrests started flying, Cashmore said that Stewart called him apologizing for getting him involved, that he was sorry, and that Stewart would certainly pay his bail and attorneys fees. Cashmore also said that Stewart wanted Cashmore to meet with his attorney, and that Cashmore should take the items still in his possession and bring them to Stewart’s lawyer’s office. Cashmore never did turn the items in – to the hotel or to the attorney, and Stewart never did pay his bail or his attorney’s fees.

Gabe Grasso, for OJ Simpson, conducts the cross examination, immediately highlighting the “deal” Cashmore has struck with the Prosecution, which isn’t really much of a deal, if you ask me. Of course, personally I question the legitimacy of the “robbery” charges, so “accessory to robbery” seems like a stretch, to me, especially in light of the fact that this guy didn’t know what the hell was going on basically until they got to the scene.

Grasso then highlights all the “freebies” Cashmore has gotten since the incident took place, including a one and a half day trip to New York City, flying coach and staying at the Essex House. Trivial, if you ask me, considering that his next trip may be a five year trip staying at the Big House.

Grasso then asks Cashmore if he has a “publicity agent”, and Cashmore says no, he doesn’t, but he does have someone who “works on his behalf”, although he doesn’t know where she came from or who is paying her. He doesn’t know what she does, either, outside of “calming his nerves” and helping him to understand that he is “a person, not just one of the OJ guys.”

And OK, that made me laugh. Really hard. Hoe fucking funny is that?

Grasso then pointed out that Cashmore hasn’t actually paid any legal fees, and Cashmore shot back that he doesn’t have the ability to pay legal fees. Which Grasso uses as a reason for Cashmore to try and profit from the crime with interviews, media and the selling of his side of the story. Cashmore says that no, that his intent is not to make money; his intent is to get his life back.

Cahsmore then says that he never expected any of this, that he thought that this was all just a disagreement between friends, he thought these guys were friends of OJ’s and that this would all blow over.

Grasso then pointed out that Cashmore, when arrested, was also held on an outstanding bad check charge, which Cashmore confirmed, and asked who paid that check off so that Cashmore could be released, and Cashmore said that he paid it.

The shit really hit the fan when Ehrlich’s attorney, John Moran, brought up the fact that just the evening before, despite the judge’s exclusionary order; Cashmore was a guest, with his attorney, on the Greta Van Susteren show. Moran asks Judge Bonaventure to exclude the witnesses testimony in its entirety because eof this blatant disregard for the judge’s orders.

After standing testimony from Cashmore’s attorney, Cashmore’s testimony in the form of answers to the judge’s direct questioning, joining in the motion by Stewart’s attorney and more bombastic and indignant arguing from Moran, the judge determines that the witness has not disregarded his orders (since, as the State points out, the judge did not issue a gag order, only an exclusionary order barring witnesses from watching testimony or being in the courtroom while witnesses are testifying), and he denies the motion to exclude Cashmore’s testimony.

Under re-direct questioning by the prosecution, Cashmore agrees with Roger’s assessment that Cashmore was ”odd man out” that evening. He knew no one besides Stewart, he did not participate in the planning of the incident, he was not even told what was happening until the plan was well under way, he did not have a gun or know that guns were present, and didn’t know the people wielding them. Rogers uses all this ignorance to point out that he has no “axe to grind” in his testimony, and has no affection or affiliation with any of the defendant’s.

Grasso then uses this to point out that although the State wants to downplay Cashmore’s involvement, they are still putting Cashmore on the stand as a convicted felon, and certainly aren’t cutting the guy a break with the charges, or taking his ignorance of the plan into consideration when they subject him to a potential sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

Which is actually a very skillful and deft point, and one well made. The state can’t have it’s cake and eat it too, they can’t present their witnesses as people with completely clean hands while still charging them with felonies.

Which only stresses how far the state has to reach in order to prove up the multiple felonies in light of the evidence. If it was anyone but OJ Simpson himself sitting as one of the defendants, this whole mess would have boiled down to exactly what Cashmore described it as – a disagreement between friends.

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5 Responses to “NV vs. Simpson – “I’m More than One of the OJ Guys, I am a Person!””

  1. deserttaxguy said

    The fact that David Roger is charging Charles so hard for apparently “Nothing” give you further indication that if you are around a gun crime, you will go through hell,regardless of your involvement (or apparent lack thereof). You should see what they do if you jaywalk down town and you’re a local.!

  2. Chesney said

    I love reading your blog but on this occasion I disagree with your thoughts… arguing with friends does not constitute the use/handling/showing of guns. I dread to think “friends” would wave a gun around during a misunderstanding…calling the police on arrival at the hotel would of been the smart thing to do. I think each and everyone of them should be punished in some way….

    The use of guns is far too common… these guys are clearly two slices short of a loaf, they are lucky that there were no real casualties.

    Some time in the slammer will bring them all down to size !! As for Simpson, he is as guilty as the others, no more no less.

    Just my opinion of course 🙂

  3. arguing with friends does not constitute the use/handling/showing of guns. I dread to think “friends” would wave a gun around during a misunderstanding…calling the police on arrival at the hotel would of been the smart thing to do.

    I totally agree with you about this…I really do, and I was going to say something about “well, except for the flinging the guns around…”

    The only thing LEGALLY that I am concerned about in this case is that one guy saw 2 guns, one guy saw one gun, one guy said they came in waving them around in his face and pointed straight at him, one guy said that the guns came out *after* the people were reluctant to relinquish the property – and that the guy holding it was waving it all over the room, not pointed at anyone in particular….it’s just all over the place and the conflicting stories could be a real problem for some future jury.

    I would certainly have expected Fromong to call security – and the cops, and I would certainly expect him to press charges against the individuals with the guns, I mean, I would, friend or not, but this case isn’t nearly as cut and dried as most reports would have people believe, and the legal theories the state is running under are going to be hard to convince a jury of unless they get one straight story and witnesses to stick to that story.

    I have no doubt that they will get indictments, but I think all bets are off after that point.

    Kim

  4. […] wrote an interesting post today on NV vs. Simpson – âIâm More than One of the OJ Guys, I am a Person!âHere’s a quick […]

  5. Katprint said

    I agree that law enforcement’s decision to focus on OJ is motivated by their belief that he got away with the Brown/Goldman murders. However, I don’t agree that there is anything wrong about that. Prosecutorial decisions are frequently motivated by the person’s past criminal conduct. The “innocent until proven guilty” principle only applies to a criminal jury’s duty to presume innocence; law enforcement has no duty to ignore evidence and presume innocence (particularly when a civil jury has determined that OJ was “liable” for the murders.)

    Infamous mobster Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and not anything to do with his organized crime activities. If it takes a robbery/kidnapping conviction to get OJ off the streets and put an end to his road rage attacks (for example against Jeffrey Pattinson), domestic violence attacks against his girlfriend(s), reckless plots involving firearms, etc. then so be it.

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