In some Sept. 15 editions, a Style article about O.J. Simpson allegedly breaking into a Las Vegas hotel room misattributed a quote. It was memorabilia collector Bruce Fromong, not memorabilia dealer Alfred Beardsley, who said, "They came in with guns, hollering and screaming," in reference to Simpson and a group of men.
O.J. Simpson's New Denial: He's Not a Thief, Either
Saturday, September 15, 2007
The legal saga of O.J. Simpson went further into left field yesterday, when the former murder defendant and former football star was accused of stealing a cache of his own sports memorabilia at gunpoint from a Las Vegas hotel room.
Memorabilia dealer Alfred Beardsley told police that Simpson and a group of men burst into a casino hotel room where he was showing an interested third party Simpson-signed photographs, footballs and various football awards Simpson had won.
"They came in with guns, hollering and screaming," and took the material, fellow sports memorabilia collector Bruce Fromong said in a video posted on the celebrity gossip site TMZ.com. He described Simpson as his onetime "best friend." Los Angeles radio show host John Ziegler quoted Beardsley as saying: "O.J. told me, 'If this happened in L.A., you'd be dead already.' "
Simpson told the Associated Press that auction-house owner Tom Riccio had alerted him that the goods were on the market, and led him to the hotel room in the off-the-Strip Palace Station Hotel and Casino, where rooms start at $39.99 a night.
"Everybody knows this is stolen stuff," Simpson told the wire service. "Not only wasn't there a break-in, but Riccio came to the lobby and escorted us up to the room. In any event, it's stolen stuff that's mine. Nobody was roughed up."
Also, Las Vegas police Capt. James Dillon held a news conference and said Simpson was cooperating with authorities, and had not been charged so far. Dillon also said, and we quote accurately: "The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is very committed and very focused on conducting a very competent, thorough, biased and competent investigation."
Also, "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer" hit bookstores yesterday. This is the repackaged version of Simpson's accounting of how he might have killed his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, in 1994, even though he was acquitted in the 1995 criminal trial.
The book was published by the Goldman family, who first helped block the publication of Simpson's version of the book last year, then gained the rights to it under terms of the 1997 civil judgment that found Simpson to be responsible for the murders. They shrunk the word "if" in the title to be almost invisible, and are now on a book tour, touting it as a confession.
It seemed like a day from the 1990s: Cable television updates of Simpson and police. The Goldmans talking about their loss and their desire to inflict punishment on Simpson. O.J. declaring he hadn't done anything at all.
It made you wonder where Marcia Clark is these days. Oh! She was on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" the day before, with the Goldmans!
Did we mention that Denise Brown, Nicole's sister, is furious with the Goldmans for publishing the book, and calling for a boycott?
Meanwhile, back in Vegas, police said they had not yet found a gun, hadn't found all of the men said to be involved, and had recovered only some of the memorabilia.
That got interest from David J. Cook, the attorney leading the fight to enforce the Goldmans' $38 million judgment against Simpson. Cook said in a telephone interview that he had already been granted a hearing in Los Angeles County court Tuesday in order to collect the memorabilia from the police department. He said he understood it included the suit that Simpson was wearing the day of his acquittal.
"The goods are either Beardsley's or the Goldmans'," he said. "It's not going to be Simpson's."