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The 'Cirque du O.J.'

As Judge Nancy Oesterle of Las Vegas looked out at the multitude of TV camera crews and the squadron of satellite trucks ringing the courthouse, she said, "I guess this is what they call a media frenzy! I've never seen anything like this before."

Welcome to what some wags are calling the "Cirque du O.J.", the hottest ticket in Vegas right now.

VIDEO: O.J. Simpson in jail

Oesterle has been appointed by the court system to brief the media on the upcoming court proceedings involving O.J. Simpson as news organizations prepare for yet another trial involving the notorious ex-jock, charged this time with a hotel-room heist at gunpoint.

Simpson told police he was just trying to recover some sports memorabilia that belonged to him, but police contend he and a group of buddies barged into the room with weapons drawn, something officers say amounts to armed robbery, burglary and a slew of other felonies.

Déjà vu

I'm a veteran of the first two O.J. trials: the criminal case where Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman, and the civil trial where the Goldman family and the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson won millions of dollars in damages from O.J. (Although they've collected only a modest sum so far.)

The circus atmosphere is familiar to me as I spot many of the same colleagues from O.J. I and II in the press scrum outside the courthouse, and as I listen to the rumor mill about the case, running once again at warp speed.

So why the continuing fascination with Simpson? Maybe it's because his previous trials had all the elements of great pulp fiction: fame, fortune, sex, race and a bloody double murder. Oesterle says that Simpson was ordered held without bail initially because he was considered a flight risk. (Remember that famous Bronco chase?)

Now, is it O.J. starring in a half-baked remake of "Ocean's 13?" Whatever it is, we're back at it once again as the State of Nevada girds itself for arguably the most sensational robbery trial in recent history.

It may not be "the trial of the century," as the Simpson murder case in Los Angeles was billed, but it's got everybody talking in Vegas. Pretty soon, the locals will probably be quoting odds on a "guilty" or "not guilty" verdict as the case unfolds.