O.J. Simpson accused of road rage

Oct. 18, 2001 at 1:42 PM
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MIAMI, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A prosecutor, in opening statements at O.J. Simpson's road-rage trial, said Thursday that the former football great was enraged last December when he reached inside the car of another Miami motorist and grabbed his glasses.

Police said Simpson ran a stop sign and Jeffrey Pattinson, 55, saw it and blew his horn and flicked his headlights at him.

"Mr. Simpson is enraged. He is enraged because he has been called on breaking the traffic law," said Assistant State Attorney Abbe Riskin.

She said Simpson pulled Pattinson over and accused him of following too close.

"So I blew the stop sign. What are you going to do? Kill me and my kids?" she quoted Simpson as saying.

She said Simpson's fingerprints on the glasses prove that he had grabbed them. Pattinson said he also was scratched on the face in the process.

Simpson faces charges of felony auto burglary and misdemeanor battery. The maximum penalty is 16 years in prison.

His attorney, Yale Galanter, accused both police and Pattinson of being out to get Simpson.

"The evidence will show that the police, instead of focusing in on Mr. Pattinson, and his credibility, immediately started to focus in on Mr. Simpson," Galanter said.

He said Pattinson was angry when Simpson moved into the neighborhood and was trying to make it unpleasant for him so he would move.

Galanter said Simpson was merely trying to protect his children.

Simpson was acquitted of the June 1994 slayings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in a trial in Los Angeles 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 in September 2000.

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