O.J. Simpson Is Charged In Alleged Robbery
Monday, September 17, 2007
Las Vegas police arrested O.J. Simpson yesterday and charged the former football star with six felony counts in connection with an alleged hotel-room robbery, placing Simpson in his most serious legal jeopardy since his acquittal on double murder charges in 1995.
Simpson, 60, was arrested yesterday morning, three days after two sports-memorabilia dealers told police that Simpson and five other men burst into their room at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino, several of them brandishing guns, and seized various mementos, including several items autographed by the NFL Hall of Famer.
Police charged Simpson with two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count each of conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary with a firearm. He was booked last night in the Clark County Detention Center; a judge ordered him held without bail.
At a news conference last night, police said there were no indications that Simpson was carrying a weapon during the alleged robbery, nor was there evidence of physical harm to anyone in the episode.
Simpson has repeatedly asserted his innocence in a series of interviews since Thursday, saying that no guns were involved and that he had conducted a "sting operation" to retrieve property that had been taken from him years earlier by a former sports agent.
"I'm O.J. Simpson. How am I going to think that I'm going to rob somebody and get away with it?" he told the Los Angeles Times in a story published yesterday. "You've got to understand, this ain't somebody going to steal somebody's drugs or something like that. This is somebody going to get his private [belongings] back. That's it. That's not robbery."
Simpson, who lives in South Florida, said he traveled to Las Vegas after an auction-house owner, Thomas Riccio, told him that two collectors, Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley, were there selling memorabilia belonging to him. Riccio met Simpson and several other men in the lobby of the hotel and escorted them to the hotel room, according to Simpson's account.
Beardsley later told the celebrity-news Web site TMZ.com that members of Simpson's party entered the room and inquired about buying the suit that Simpson wore on the day in October 1995 when a Los Angeles jury found him not guilty of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. After Simpson entered the room, Beardsley said he was directed "at gunpoint" to pack up various items that Simpson said were his.
Among the items were Simpson's Hall of Fame certificate, a picture of the former USC and Buffalo Bills running back with former FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, family photos and a pair of cleats used by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, police said. The dealers told police the items are worth about $75,000.
However, in an interview Saturday with the Associated Press, Beardsley -- who has known Simpson for about 25 years -- said he wants the case dropped and that he's "on O.J.'s side."
On Saturday Las Vegas police arrested Walter Alexander, 46, of Mesa, Ariz., for his alleged role in helping Simpson. He was booked on four counts, all felony charges: conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and burglary with a deadly weapon.
Legal experts said Simpson and his reputed conspirators could face years of jail time if convicted on any of the charges.