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O.J. Simpson Arrested In Las Vegas Hotel Room Robbery; Greenspan's Tell All Book Is Released; Thailand Plane Crash

Aired September 16, 2007 - 17:00   ET


ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

Acquitted once of murder, O.J. Simpson faces felony charges again and the prospect of going prison. The football "Hall Of Famer" arrested today for an alleged armed robbery. With the story live from Las Vegas we have CNN's Ted Rowlands who spoke with Simpson several times including just 90 minutes before his arrest. Ted, bring us up- to-date.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, O.J. Simpson is in the building behind me. We've just been updated that he is, most likely, going to be here for some time. We were told that by a police spokesperson sort of "off-the-cuff." They've also told us that they are expecting a news conference in about an hour, at 3 p.m. Pacific Time, to update the alleged charges or the charges against O.J. Simpson in this alleged armed robbery. For those who aren't familiar with the story, basically Thursday night O.J. Simpson and four of his friends went into a hotel off the strip here in Las Vegas. O.J. Simpson acknowledges that. What he hasn't acknowledged is that there were guns involved and that there was an armed robbery, but that is what he is accused of at this point.

Basically, the issue here was about $75,000, according to the alleged victims here, worth of merchandise was taken from a hotel room on Thursday evening about 8:00 and O.J. Simpson and four other men were responsible for doing that according to the alleged victims. They had two handguns, Las Vegas Police, according to a source, have recovered two handguns that they believe were used in this incident. O.J. Simpson has told CNN on numerous occasions he was there, he took the items, they were his items and there were no handguns. He was arrested today about three hours ago here in Las Vegas, taken from his room at the Palms Hotel and brought to this facility in handcuffs. He is expected to be here, as I said, for a few more hours, possibly, and then moved to the Clark County Detention Center downtown. What is unclear is what his bail will be and whether he'll be able to make his bail or whether or not he will spend the night in jail here in Vegas. Alina?

CHO: Ted, I want to ask you because going forward, we could have as many as four more arrests. Police say O.J. Simpson faces multiple felony charges including robbery with a deadly weapon, we should mention that, according to the Associated Press, but having said that, what do we know, if anything, about potentially more arrests in this case?

ROWLANDS: We've been told that they are looking at the other people involved in this incident that we were told that we could expect more arrests in this case. We were told that by a spokesperson in the back of the building here a while ago and it would make sense. The allegation is if there were four men plus O.J. Simpson that were accused of this. We've already had two arrests. O.J. Simpson is the second arrest; the first arrest came Friday night, according to a police source, of an individual headed towards the Las Vegas McCarran Airport. He was arrested, taken into custody and according to that source he is facing multiple charges, multiple felony charges, including robbery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon. Now by all accounts, O.J. Simpson was not carrying a handgun during this alleged armed robbery, but legally it really doesn't matter. If he was part of this, part of the armed robbery itself and there were guns involved, he is facing those very serious charges. He, most likely, will not face assault with a deadly weapon, but will face those other charges which could -- could if convicted down the line, carry jail time.

CHO: It certainly could, 4 to 30 years potentially, Ted. We thank you for joining us with that report. Ted Rowlands, our man on the ground in Las Vegas. We'll be certainly checking back with you throughout the hour. We want to get more perspective now on the O.J. Simpson arrest and for that we are going to go to ESPN's Sports Analyst, Stephen Smith; he's joining us by phone. Steve, we thank you for being with us at this hour. Give me your thoughts given this latest development, the arrest of O.J. Simpson?

STEPHEN SMITH, ESPN SPORTS ANALYST: My initial thought is he's an absolute fool and he deserves what he gets for putting himself in this predicament. We all know that there are an abundance of people out in the world who believe him to be a double murderer that got off and should be behind bars for the rest of his life. So you would think, due to the fact that he was able to skirt around that issue and ultimately be acquitted, that he would do anything to avoid finding himself in trouble with the police. But since that has not been the case, you know, you reap what you sow and sometimes when you're stupid you deserve all the pain in the world and, in this case, I definitely think an argument could be made that stupidity was a big-time factor in whatever situation he finds himself in.

CHO: Stephen, don't mince words. Tell me what you really feel.

SMITH: Always.

CHO: Let's talk a little bit about the sports memorabilia. You are a sports analyst. It has been said by our very own Thelma Gutierrez that over the years despite what some people may think that the value of the sports memorabilia, O.J. Simpson's that is, has actually gone down in value. So what do you make of Simpson allegedly going into this hotel room and retrieving some of it?

SMITH: Well, what I make of it is that O.J. Simpson is always able to find somebody that still finds a way to (inaudible) and praise him, and you know, you see people sometimes, from time-to-time, even getting his autograph. Why? I have absolutely no idea whatsoever, but that seems to be the case. And especially in light of the fact that he doesn't have a job, as far as we know, and he's not supposed to be gaining any money because the Goldman family gets a piece of that because of winning the civil suit against him. The reality is that anything that he has, that he thinks has any kind of monetary value, he's going value that to an extreme degree and make sure that he tries to protect his assets and is, supposedly, very few. So who knows who he has in his pocket in terms of where he can generate some revenue, and what have you, but you also know that if he believes that to be the case where he's in possession of things that have any kind of value, you know he's going to be protective of it which is the only explanation that you can surmise from this latest fiasco.

CHO: I have a feeling I'm going get an earful on this one, but I want to ask the question. Stephen, what do you think do you make of the fact that Simpson has spoken repeatedly to reporters, including our very own Ted Rowlands, when in fact there is an active police investigation going on. He got off the phone with Ted Rowlands just 30 minutes before his arrest. What do you make of this?

SMITH: Well, I mean, I was listening to Fred Goldman speak the other day and the word that a lot of people use, especially the O.J. Haters or the critics or whatever you want to call them, they use the word 'arrogant.' I use the words 'ignorance' and 'flat-out idiocy.' I mean, there's just no mistake about it. The fact is, is that O.J. eluded to, in several of the reports that I mentioned, that one of the reasons he didn't call the police because the police have not been receptive to helping him. He says that any time he's had incidences in the past, since the murder trial in 1994, that the police have been unwilling to help him in any way, shape, form or fashion. Well, guess what? If they're not willing to help you then chances are that they believe you to be a double murderer, they're going to try to hurt you any chance they get. You know an investigation is going, you know they're looking for evidence against you, they're dotting their 'I's and crossing their 'T's because they don't want to be a replica of the L.A.P.D. back more than a decade ago and still you open your mouth. There is nothing, there's no other way to explain that or to decipher what that means or its definition, other than to use stupidity and idiocy together, one in the same, it doesn't matter. He's a flat-out idiot for opening his mouth without his lawyers present.

CHO: I guess I should have expected nothing less than colorful commentary from a sports analyst but ESPN's Sports Analyst, Stephen Smith, we thank you for joining us with your thoughts on this. Just to recap our top story, O.J. Simpson, the ex-football star under arrest in Las Vegas being questioned by police at this hour, charges are pending in connection with the Thursday night alleged armed robbery at a hotel casino of sports memorabilia. Now, Simpson has maintained from the very beginning that those items in question were his, but they weren't exactly priceless. In fact, memorabilia dealers we spoke to say Simpson's star power faded long ago and the value of his memorabilia along with it. For that we go to CNN's Thelma Gutierrez.

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

RICK NARA, OWNER OF PLAYBALL: Eighty-nine score with Randy Johnson.

GUTIERREZ: He's a 20-year veteran who's done big business with the biggest names in sports, Mickey Mantle, Joe Thiesman(ph), Gail Sayers. Nara also done witness one of the most notorious, O.J. Simpson.

NARA: That was the day he came in here, too, that 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 on it runs $150, but back in the day prior to O.J.'s legal troubles Rick could about get twice as much.

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

GUTIERREZ: But O.J. Memorabilia is a very sore subject for Rita, Rick's wife and business partner. You didn't want to make money from it.

RITA NARA, CO-OWNER OF PLAYBALL: 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 any time a star falls from grace because it affects his bottom line.

NARA: Just like the stock market you're there and then you're down. I know his rookie card at one time was a 1970 rookie card from Topps and I know it went from $300 to $30.

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

NARA: 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 tainted memorabilia can regain its value. Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Las Vegas, Nevada.


CHO: Recapping our top story, O.J. Simpson under arrest. What does this mean for him in legal terms? After the break we're going to be speaking with B.J. Bernstein. She's a criminal defense attorney. She'll have her insights and her thoughts on the other side of the break. Stay with us. You're in the "NEWSROOM."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHO: Welcome back everybody, I'm Alina Cho at the CNN center in Atlanta. Just recapping something breaking news we've been following all afternoon here at CNN. The arrest of O.J. Simpson in Las Vegas, in connection with an alleged armed robbery at a hotel casino involving sports memorabilia that Simpson tells our Ted Rowlands was rightfully his. Here with me for some legal analysis is Criminal Defense Attorney, B.J. Bernstein. So the Associated Press, B.J., reporting that police say O.J. Simpson will face multiple felony charges including robbery with a deadly weapon including, despite the fact rather, that by all accounts he was not wielding the weapon himself, but this is still very serious for O.J. Simpson, is it not?

B.J. BERNSTEIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Very serious and O.J. Simpson is teaching us more about the law. You know, America tuned into his first trial and learned more about trial procedure and now we're learning another part of the law which is party to the crime. In other words, you don't have to be the one carrying the weapon. If you are part of the group that's going in and taking an item then you are part of the robbery and that's why he's been charged with robbery with a deadly weapon which under Nevada law ...

CHO: Well, we should be clear that the charges are pending. So we are awaiting that, right, right.

BERNSTEIN: The charges are pending with robbery, that's two to 15 years; with robbery with a deadly weapon it is doubled. So four to 30 years. So a very serious charge he's facing.

CHO: And just as we talk about this, I want to remind our viewers that we are awaiting a news conference in the next hour or so by Las Vegas authorities, presumably, they will detail the O.J. Simpson arrest, talk about any possible charges including, according to the Associated Press, multiple felony charges including robbery with a deadly weapon, but having said that, he could face B.J., in you've been doing some digging. Four to 30 years, is that what you just said?

BERNSTEIN: Exactly, this is a serious offense. I mean, think about it, robbery, armed robbery, going after somebody with a weapon is a serious, serious charge. And so the fact that he's been talking to everybody, talking to Ted Rowlands from CNN, the very day he's arrested is something to send his lawyers off the deep end and the problem of things he's already saying to the press are admissions of a crime. He may not realize it. He's cooperating apparently under this idea that they were my items that were taken from me, so therefore I can take them back, but the law doesn't favor self-help.

CHO: You don't take the law into your own hands if indeed a crime was committed. Having said that, you have handled a lot of high-profile cases yourself. How do you handle a man like O.J. Simpson who has so much notoriety, famous but also infamous.

BERNSTEIN: It's going to be a problem because you had the last guest on talk about how stupid he is, and remember in his first trial America loved him. He was the football icon and they haven't seen what's happened. America has now watched a man who was acquitted of serious charges, but then found civilly-liable. We've gotten to know the Goldman family. Denise brown, we've seen all of the players in that case and now people don't necessarily think as highly of him or think that he got away with murder and that may affect people's opinion here, in terms of him as a target and as a defendant.

CHO: What can we expect legally speaking, going forward in, say, the next 48 hours or so? An arraignment is next, right?

BERNSTEIN: The first thing that's going to be is whether he's going get bond or not. It's called a first-appearance hearing where they tell him precisely what he's charged with and then they go to issues of bail. And, the problem for him is he's not from Las Vegas, the good news is he stayed there knowing he's under investigation so they'll set a bond, but then he's got to make a bond, and if he's got financial problems, which he does, because the Goldmans have a civil judgment against him then he's going need someone else, probably, a friend and I'm not sure who wants to be the person to put up bond for O.J. Simpson.

CHO: Well, and of course, the timing is so interesting with the book coming out just this week, "if I did it," number two on from what we understand, behind - no, I'm sorry, in front of Alan Greenspan's book which is sort of a sad commentary on society, but having said that, this could drag on well beyond the end of this year, right? There's not going to be a quick resolution to this?

BERNSTEIN: Not a quick resolution. This is just like any other criminal case that lasts for a long time. You go through these initial parts where somebody makes bond or doesn't make bond, and then you set a trial date far in the future or you work out a plea deal and the question here and the problem for Simpson is other people are being arrested and it's in their interest to turn on him.

CHO: Or turn against him if he's considered the big prize but having said that, can a person like O.J. Simpson get a fair trial? Are we looking at a plea deal here?

BERNSTEIN: Well, in terms of whether he's guilty or innocent, he shouldn't plead guilty unless he is. In terms of having a trial there in Las Vegas, the truth is in the Michael Jackson case which was certainly a famous case they were able to pick a jury because the legal standard isn't "Do I know O.J. Simpson? I have read the book." The question is can you be a fair and impartial juror? Can you set those things you know about him aside and listen to the evidence in the case?

CHO: I talked about this a bit earlier, I was getting e-mails from a friend of mine in Las Vegas who is watching this case very closely. Clearly people in that community are watching it very closely, so what's the likelihood that the trial, if there is one, moves out of Las Vegas?

BERNSTEIN: Well, sometimes lawyers like to keep a case actually in a city because of the demographics of the jury and lawyers who are there will know, what type of jurors are there they? Which judge is going to get the case? And, we're about to, you know, the interesting thing about this is there is going to be a lot of new names coming forward, you know, we know Judge Ito, who is the magic judge who is going to have the claim to fame in Las Vegas of this case? All of these things will matter.

CHO: We've already learned from Jeffrey Toobin(ph) that the most famous criminal defense attorney is the mayor. Obviously, he cannot defend O.J. Simpson so we'll have to wait to see what names pop up in the coming days. B.J. Bernstein, Criminal Defense Attorney, and we thank you for joining you us.

We have much more ahead including our top story which is that O.J. Simpson is under arrest, but after the break we'll have Alan Greenspan speaking out against the president. He's got that book out and we've got that report on the other side of the break. Stay with us.


CHO: Welcome back everybody, I'm Alina Cho and you're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Former Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, is firing on fellow Republicans, including the "Commander in Chief," President Bush. His book to be released tomorrow says Republican leaders abandoned their principles, launching government spending sprees that led to huge federal deficits. His model of fiscal sanity? Former President Bill Clinton. With more on the story we turn to Kathleen Koch. She's in our Washington bureau. Hi, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alina. This is all very interesting because while chairman we never knew what Alan Greenspan thought about the presidents he worked with, about the actions of the party in power. Well, now Greenspan is leaving no doubt and raising eyebrows with his frankness.


ALAN GREENSPAN, FMR. FED CHAIRMAN: The economy appeared to have considerable momentum.

KOCH: While Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan's words moved markets, now in his new memoir he's trading cautious cryptic comments for blunt criticism and Washington is dissecting his conclusions. One of Greenspan's most explosive charges, quote, "Everyone knows the Iraq war is largely about oil."

REP. TOM LANTOS (D), CALIFORNIA: It is very remarkable that it took Alan Greenspan all these many years and being out of office for stating the obvious.

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I know the same allegation was made about the gulf war in 1991, and I just don't believe it's true.

KOCH: Greenspan blasts President Bush for not vetoing a single spending bill until nearly six years into his presidency. Quote, "Bush's 'collaborate don't confront approach' was a major mistake. Deficits don't matter, to my chagrin became part of Republicans' rhetoric." White House Press Secretary, Tony Fratto, fired back, quote, "We had veto threats which were used to good effect to keep spending within the president's numbers. Because congress worked with us, vetoes weren't necessary." Greenspan blames Republicans' lack of fiscal discipline for their 2006 loss of power in congress saying they, quote, "Lost their way. They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose."

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I agree that Republicans have, unfortunately, been guilty of too much spending in Washington, wasteful Washington spending, and we need to do better.

KOCH: In the book, and in an interview on CBS's "60 minutes," Greenspan defends his 2003 decision to keep short-term interest rates at 1% for a year, a move, some say, has helped create the housing bubble that now burst.

GREENSPAN: It was our job to freeze the American banking system if we wanted the economy to function. This required that we keep rates modestly low.


KOCH: Greenspan's criticism of President Bush and his party is particularly biting because it come as a self-described Libertarian Republican, still Deputy Press Secretary Fratto(ph) insists in a statement that quote, "At any rate, we ended up on economic policy, or where we ended up on economic policy was right as our records show." Alina?

CHO: Well, Kathleen, it's clear we know now how he feels about President Bush, but he's worked with four presidents in all. What did he say about the others?

KOCH: I haven't had a chance to read the book cover to cover, but he did make one specific reference to the two brightest presidents he'd ever worked with, and they were Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

CHO: Interesting point. Alright, Kathleen Koch in our Washington bureau, we thank you for that report.

Meanwhile, other news to report, half way around the world a fiery plane crash has killed a reported 87 people, but more than 40 amazingly survived. The budget airliner was taking tourists to the coastal town of Phuket in southern Thailand. We get that story from CNN's Ralitsa Vassileva.


RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It happened just after touchdown at a popular Thai resort. The plane, torn in two, skidded off the runway, erupting into flames. Travelers reported frightening moments onboard as the plane came in and then horror as it broke apart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plane was landed you could tell it was in trouble because it kind of landed and came up again, the second time just smashed.

VASSILEVA: 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 onboard another flight and watched as the disaster unfolded.

WILLIAM HARDING, WITNESS: Just a weird thing, of course, never seeing it before, where it was all of the inside of the plane was just in flames with the black smoke floating up from it and after, just a little bit, after a few minutes there was a little explosion that kind of blew a hole in the top of the fuselage.

VASSILEVA: 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 Ekey(ph), says the airport doesn't have the latest detection gear making approaches in bad weather risky.

JIM EKEY(ph), AVIATION EXPERT: There's almost zero margin of error, once one of those downdrafts hits you and you can't see in front of you more than 50 feet, you're in serious trouble.

VASSILEVA: The plane is an American made MD-82, a two-engine workhouse with a good safety record. Teams of experts are now combing through the debris, looking for a cause. Ralitsa Vassileva, CNN, Atlanta.


CHO: Stay with us, much more ahead; recapping our top story, O.J. Simpson under arrest in Las Vegas. Our very own Ted Rowlands spoke to Simpson by phone just 90 minutes before he was taken into police custody. We're going talk to Ted Rowlands live on the other side of this break. Stay with us. You're in the "NEWSROOM." "


ALINA CHO, CNN NEWS GUEST ANCHOR: You're in the "NEWSROOM." Welcome back, everybody. I'm Alina Cho. It is 5:30 Eastern time, bottom of the hour. I want to bring you up to date on our breaking story. We've been following it all afternoon. O.J. Simpson under suspicion and now under arrest. The ex-football star arrested today for that alleged armed robbery in Las Vegas.

Our reporter Ted Rowlands on the ground in Las Vegas. He's been speaking with Simpson.

He's at the police station where I understand, Ted, we've just gotten word that a news conference will begin in the next half hour, is that right?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the schedule, at the top of the hour, 3:00 pacific time. We've been told that detectives will update us on the here in the latest in this investigation, whether or not it kicks off at the top of the hour we'll have to see. They've been sliding things back and forth throughout the day because it is such a fluid situation.

Simpson remains in this building here, apparently, being questioned. Whether or not he's cooperating and whether or not he has an attorney inside is very unclear at this point, but he is inside this building and he'll be taken here at some point this afternoon to the Clark County Detention Center in downtown Las Vegas where he'll be arraigned and booked and possibly at that point he'll make bail.

I talked to somebody familiar with the situation down there. They say, clearly, if he has the money and bail is an option for him, in that there is bail set, he can do it at any time, 24 hours a day. The fact that it is a Sunday afternoon doesn't make any difference. He'll be able to bail himself out if he'll raise the necessary funds. We have no idea what, if any, bail is on the table for him.

This arrest came about 11 -- just after 11:00 here in Las Vegas pacific time at the Palms Hotel and Casino. Authorities went up to his room, took him into custody without incident and took him through a service elevator out of the casino hotel, casino, without anybody seeing so it didn't cause a disruption and brought him into this building.

This, of course, comes after days of investigating this alleged armed robbery that took place at an off the strip location on Thursday night where Simpson and four others are alleged to have engaged in an armed robbery for upwards of $75,000 in memorabilia. That $75,000 estimate given by one of the alleged victims -- Alina?

CHO: I know you spoke with Simpson by phone just 90 minutes before his arrest. For those viewers just joining us, what did he tell you on the phone?

ROWLANDS: Well, I was talking to him this morning specifically to get his reaction to another arrest. Simpson is the second arrest in this case. The first arrest, according to a source very close with this investigation, took place on Friday night. One of the other alleged accomplices was taken into custody apparently heading towards the airport, the McCarran Airport here in Las Vegas.

I called Simpson to ask him about the arrest to see if he had known about it. He said yes, he had heard about the arrest. I said what do you think? He said I don't know why they've arrested this individual. I asked him if he thought he was going to be next, and he said I've been talking to the police from the beginning here. I didn't do anything wrong. I've been forward with them and, quote, "in the end the truth will come out."

Ninety minutes later it didn't seem -- when I talked to him that he thought he would be arrested any time soon. Ninety minutes later he was in handcuffs and being led out of the Palms Hotel and Casino.

CHO: Ted, there's no denying that you are a great enterprising reporter that does a lot of great digging on a lot of stories. But having said that, a lot of people have said O.J. Simpson is crazy for talking to reporters. Did he give a reason for why he spoke to you and why he spoke to you so often?

ROWLANDS: Well, I -- you know, I honestly believe that he thinks he didn't do anything wrong and he wanted to sort of clear it up. O.J., obviously, is America's worst enemy, and a lot of people really hate the guy. He said that he wanted to basically get his story out there because in his mind he didn't do anything wrong.

He said the items that were taken from that hotel were his items, personal belongings that had been stolen from him years ago after the not-guilty verdict in the murder trial from his Rockingham home. He said they got lost in the shuffle during that chaos. He knows they were stolen and he knew they were out there. And when he got wind they were being sold on the black market or at least in an underhanded way he wanted to get his stuff.

So I think he -- obviously knows the legal system considering what he's been through. I think, generally, he didn't think he was in a lot of trouble. If he thought it was this serious, if he thought he would be sitting in handcuffs, I don't believe he would have talked to me or anyone else about this.

But he didn't seem to think that he was in imminent danger in terms of being arrested when you talked to him. He didn't seem to think he'd done anything wrong and he thought, this will all get cleared up as soon as the guy finishes talking to police and it's no big deal. Obviously, he was mistaken. I just think it wasn't his ego, or he wanted to be in the news. He wanted it to go away is the impression I got, but he didn't think it was a big deal.

CHO: He told the "Los Angeles Times" that he hoped what happened in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Right now he is staying in Vegas.

Having said that, Ted Rowlands, thank you for joining us. Of course, we're awaiting a news conference by Las Vegas authorities in the next half hour. I know you'll be there and watching and waiting for those developments. We'll check back with you later.

I want to go to Pamela Bethel, a criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor. She joins us now from Washington, D.C.

Glad to have you in front of the camera now, Pamela.

We're hearing from the Associated Press that police say O.J. Simpson faces multiple felony charges including robbery with a deadly weapon even though by all accounts, Simpson was not wielding the weapon himself. This is still serious stuff, is it not?

PAMELA BETHEL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh, yes, very serious. The fact that he wasn't carrying a weapon himself will be almost of no consequence in terms of the crimes he's charged with. He was with the group. They were all carrying guns and they were there for the same purpose so it really doesn't matter that much that Simpson didn't have a gun. These are very serious charges. Any robbery, any crime against a person or people in which you use a weapon, that's always very serious.

CHO: Let's talk a little bit about the next 48 hours or so. What can we expect to happen in this case?

BETHEL: Well, the first issue is going to be whether or not he can get bail. Whether or not, just from administrative of a system, whether there is someone there, available who can -- who can have him come before the magistrate and make a bail determination, whether or not the prosecutors are going to ask that he not be released. Things he's got going against him is he doesn't live in Nevada. He can be sent some money. He may have access to leave the country. The things he's got going for him is that apparently he's been talking to the press and police all of the time, and so the thought would be, if I were his lawyer, I would say if he had intended to plea he certainly could have done so well before you came after him.

CHO: Pamela, you say that works for him and yet he has made some conflicting statements from what I understand to our very own Ted Rowlands saying at first he did not believe there were guns involved in the incident and then saying well, maybe there were some guns. Isn't that a problem for him?

BETHEL: Oh, yeah. I meant what works for him only in the context of the bail hearing. The fact that he's talked to anybody...

CHO: Got it.

BETHEL: ... has just got to be right up there with one of the things he shouldn't have gotten up this morning.

CHO: I think a lot of people have said -- a lot of legal analysts said he should have spent more time looking for an attorney. But having said that, given Simpson's notoriety, his star power, if you will, perhaps more infamous than famous, but having said that, how does a man like this get a fair trial? Is that possible?

BETHEL: It's possible. The fair trial standard is the jurors who will get asked to make a determination have not predetermined this particular case. The fact that he's famous. He's -- he was playing football in California, all of that is fine. But if you can get 12 people to swear that they have not made a determination about the facts in this case, they can be deemed to be fair jurors.

CHO: Pamela Bethel, criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, glad to have you in front of our camera in our Washington Bureau. Thank you for your thoughts.

BETHEL: You're welcome.

CHO: We're watching the O.J. Simpson story closely. The headline, O.J. Simpson under arrest in Las Vegas.

We're watching other news. On a much lighter note, the Emmis are tonight, TV's most coveted prize.

Brooke Anderson live on the red carpet.

Brooke, what do you have? BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Alina, I am live on the red carpet. Stars are beginning to arrive. After the break, I'll have a live report on who is expected to take home Emmy gold. Back to you.

CHO: Boy, do you look good, Brooke. We'll check back with you in just a couple of minutes.

You're in the "NEWSROOM." We're back after this.

CNN CORRESPONDENT: A 2006 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that 17 percent of people with tattoos considered removing them, but now tattoo enthusiasts may have a regret-free option. The company, Freedom-2 has created an erasable ink that makes tattoo removal easier and safer.

MARTIN SCHMIEG, PRESIDENT & CEO, FREEDOM-2, INC.: Freedom-2 inks contain the same pigments that you would find in traditional tattoo inks. It encapsulates those pigments in a polymer which protects you from the harmful effects of the pigment and provides for us to easily remove the tattoo ink at a later time.

CNN CORRESPONDENT: The tattoo's removed with a one-time laser treatment that takes away 100 percent of the tattoo by releasing the ink into the body where it can safely be absorbed.

SCHMIEG: Tattoo removal today can cost you from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the amount of tattooing you're removing. Ours should cost less than $1,000.

CNN CORRESPONDENT: Schmieg hopes to introduce the Freedom-2 tattoo ink in late 2007.


CHO: Welcome back, everybody. Other news now, will it be a beautiful night for "Ugly Betty" and will Tony Soprano ice his Emmy competition? Those are the big questions in the run-up to tonight's Emmy Awards, 59th annual.

CNN's Brooke Anderson outside L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium where the Emmys will be handed out in just a couple of hours.

We're looking live there, Brooke. You get all of the great assignments. What's the buzz?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's an exciting night here. It's really the night that primetime television's top talent have been waiting for all year long. The 59th prime time Emmys, Eva Longoria is here. Host Ryan Seacrest has arrived as well. And everybody is buzzing about the Sopranos. After the show faded to black in its final season, it is expected to clean house here tonight. The show is nominated for 15 Emmys, the most of any series. It's expected to win best drama. James Gandolfini and Edy Falco are looking for their fourth individual Emmy win, both of them. Some prognosticators say they should also look out for the freshman drama "Heroes" as well as "Gray's Anatomy." "Gray's Anatomy" has three supporting actress nominees and P.R. Knight was nominated for best supporting actor after a tumultuous year involving co-star Isaiah Washington's homophobic slur. Drama over to comedy, "30 Rock" is looking good on NBC. It's a critical favorite. Alec Baldwin is promising to win best actor. Tina Fey is also quite a favorite. "Ugly Betty," 11 nominations including best actress for America Ferrera.

And Alina, I want to quickly mention that Al Gore is expected to be here. His cable network Current TV is nominated for an Emmy, for interactive television.

CHO: A couple of questions first before we go. Number one, who are you wearing tonight because we've all agreed here, you look fabulous. That's number one. What about "Entourage," my favorite show? Are they going to win anything?

ANDERSON: Yes, Jeremy Pifen, won last year for best supporting actor. He's nominated again. The entire cast will be presenting. The night is promise be for HBO's "Entourage." They're always a strong contender.

In terms of fashion, I'm just wearing a little number by Kay Unger. And that's very kind of all of you to say, I appreciate it.

The theme here among all of the stars that have arrived is stay cool. It's pretty hot, but I'm seeing shorter hemlines, longer hemlines and seeing bold colors and metallics and pretty much anything goes. It is the television industry's biggest, most prestigious night. It is sure to be an entertaining one.

CHO: We know you'll be watching it all. Brooke Anderson our entertainment correspondent, live from the Shrine Auditorium, site of the 59th annual primetime Emmy Awards.

Brooke, thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

CHO: She mentioned Al gore will be there. Some more politics, too. Candy Crowley is in Iowa at the Annual Steak Fry with presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton. We'll check in with Candy after the break.

We'll be right back.


CHO: Welcome back, everybody. So glad you're with us on this Sunday afternoon. All six leading Democratic candidates at one political event in the small town of Indianola, Iowa.

Here to tell us why, CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley. So, Candy, what exactly is a Harkin Steak Fry.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in election cycle it's a must go, I can tell you that and just for clarity's sake, it's not actually a steak fry, it's a steak grill, but they call it a steak fry.

What happens here is you bring in almost all the party activists. These are people that have been paying attention all along and those whose attention is now just turning to the presidential election.

They said they had about 12,000 people here so that's not an audience any politician wants to pass up nor is Tom Harkin, a senior Senator here in Iowa anyone you want to dis. So they all come here. All six of them gave speeches to this crowd about 15 minutes long.

They all pretty much talked about the same thing. Universal healthcare, restoring the U.S. reputation overseas, strengthening organized labor, but, of course, the war in iraq, Alina, is the one thing that always comes up here and certainly got the biggest applause when all of them called for an end to the war, Alina.

CNN senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley live in Indianola, Iowa. Thank you very much.

We're watching the top story very closely. O.J. Simpson under arrest in Las Vegas. We're awaiting a news conference by Las Vegas authorities at the top of the hour. We're watching that closely and we'll take it live.

We'll be right back after this short break.


CHO: If you're just joining us, stay with us, everyone, because at the top of the hour we're expecting a news conference on the arrest late this afternoon of O.J. Simpson. That news conference expected at the top of the hour in Las Vegas. Our Ted Rowlands is there for that.

Meanwhile, we'll get a check of the weather. We've had some out of control wildfires in southern California. Jacqui Jeras is with us to take a look at that.

Hey, Jacqui, weather is not helping is it?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Before we went to the commercial break, you were teasing the O.J. set. You can see it right there, Las Vegas. Look at the wind blowing here and also notice the haze in the air. Kind of has that brown tinge. This is from the big bear lake fire in southern California.


JERAS: Alina? I can't wait to go home.

CHO: Yeah, heading back tonight late, I think. All right, Jacqui Jeras, we thank you for joining us.

For those of you just joining us right now. I want to recap our top story, O.J. Simpson under arrest in Las Vegas.

We want to get to Pamela Bethel, a criminal defense attorney and a former federal prosecutor joins us now live from D.C.

Simpson taken into custody, Pamela, late this afternoon according to the Associated Press. He faces multiple felony charges, including robbery with a deadly weapon. But how serious is this?

BETHEL: These are very serious charges. Other than perhaps, you know, assault where a deadly weapon, these are very serious charges.

Remember, they came into a room with guns. Anything could have happened. So these are very serious charges.

CHO: What can we expect? I was sitting her just yesterday saying the next 48 hours would be critical. Clearly, we had no idea at that point that Simpson would be taken into custody.

But having said that, we're awaiting that mug shot. But what's next after that?

BETHEL: He will be booked. It's the term that's used. After that, then he'll appear before a magistrate and they will determine whether or not he will be eligible for bail.

The prosecutors may be arguing that he shouldn't get bail. And I hope that he's represented by counsel. And his counsel would be arguing that he should get bail.

CHO: Pamela Bethel, criminal defense attorney former federal prosecutor, joining us live from D.C. Pamela, thank you. We'll check back with you later.

We are awaiting a news conference. But in the meantime, the next hour of "NEWSROOM" begins right now.