O. J. Simpson's "sting operation" to recover personal memorabilia from a collector in a Las Vegas hotel room may have backfired in more ways than one. Vegas police will decide whether to charge Simpson in the armed-robbery investigation, which began after he and unnamed associates entered the room at the Palace Station last Thursday. And even if the cops end up buying Simpson's explanation—that he was reclaiming items stolen from him—attorneys for Fred Goldman will seek to have the memorabilia seized and sold as partial payment for the 1997 wrongful-death judgment in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman's son, Ronald. "We're rooting for Mr. Simpson, that it's his property," Goldman lawyer David Cook told NEWSWEEK.
The man who called the police was California collector Alfred Beardsley, who has been accumulating Simpson memorabilia since the 1980s. Reached in Las Vegas on Friday, a nervous Beardsley was tight-lipped. "I'm really not at liberty to discuss it," he told NEWSWEEK. But he did discuss it with someone: Cook, who says Beardsley told him about the incident and claimed that some of the men had guns. A few months ago, Cook says, Beardsley approached Goldman's camp to discuss the possible sale of the green-gray suit that Simpson wore on the day he was acquitted of murder. But they turned Beardsley down because they couldn't determine who actually owned the item. Beardsley told NEWSWEEK that the suit was not among the items in the Vegas hotel room, but he declined to say exactly what O.J. did leave with. We'll all find out soon enough.