'OJ ordered us to bring our guns'

LAS VEGAS - OJ Simpson asked friends to bring guns to a confrontation with sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room, a witness in the American football star's armed robbery trial has said.

LAS VEGAS - OJ Simpson asked friends to bring guns to a confrontation with sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room, a witness in the American football star's armed robbery trial has said.

Walter Alexander told the court in Las Vegas on Wednesday that Simpson asked members of a gang who accompanied him to the showdown to carry weapons for their own protection and to "look tough" by displaying the guns in their waistbands.

"I need somebody to watch my back ... do you think you can get some 'heat'?" Simpson said in a meeting before the raid, according to former friend Alexander, using a slang word for firearms.

Alexander is the first witness to give detailed information about how Simpson, 61, allegedly ordered the use of guns in retrieving personal items that were stolen from him in Los Angeles a decade ago.

Simpson, famously acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles in 1995, could be jailed for life if convicted on a dozen robbery and kidnapping charges.

He has repeatedly insisted he was unaware any members of his gang were armed prior to the alleged robbery in Las Vegas on September 13 last year.

Alexander said the raid was planned against the memorabilia dealers in their room at the Palace Station casino hotel.

He quoted Simpson as saying: "I doubt you will ever need 'em (the guns), you just want to be protected.

"Put 'em in your waistband and have your jackets open so they could see when you walk in." - Sapa-AFP

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