Prosecutors to seek prison term for O.J.

Oct. 9, 2001 at 5:39 PM
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MIAMI, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Prosecutors said Tuesday they will seek prison time for O.J. Simpson if he is convicted on charges of felony auto burglary and misdemeanor battery in a road-rage incident in Miami last December.

Prosecutors had said when Simpson was arrested, they would recommend an anger management class instead of prison. But as jury selection began Tuesday, prosecutor Paul Mendelson said he would ask for time in prison if Simpson is convicted. The maximum punishment is 16 years.

Jury selection began slowly as 10 prospective jurors were released. Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy said it could take as long as a month to seat a panel.

Simpson, who said he was driving his two children home from school last December when the incident occurred, has denied grabbing the man's glasses.

The other man, identified as Jeffrey Pattinson, 55, said Simpson, driving a Lincoln Navigator, ran a stop sign and cut him off, police said. When Pattinson followed him closely with his lights on high beam, he said Simpson suddenly pulled over and walked back to his car.

Police said the two men argued and Simpson reached into the vehicle and pulled Pattinson's glasses off. Pattinson said he suffered a small scratch on the face.

Pattinson has quoted Simpson as saying: "So I blew the stop sign. What are you going to do, kill me and my kids?"

Prosecutors have said that instead of seeking prison time, they may recommend an anger recommendation course for Simpson.

Simpson was acquitted of the June 1994 slayings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in a trial that was televised nationally. A civil trial was held later and held Simpson liable for the two slayings. He was ordered to pay their families $33 million in damages.

Simpson moved to Miami-Dade County a year ago.

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