Federal agents knew for weeks that O.J. Simpson and sports a memorabilia dealer planned a sting operation to retrieve personal items that the Juice said were stolen from him, according to FBI reports obtained by The Associated Press.
Dealer Thomas Riccio said he reported to the FBI August 21 that a collector claimed to have belongings of Simpson's, and that O.J. wanted to videotape the confrontation with the person peddling pieces of his memorabilia.
Amazingly, Thomas Riccio told the AP that he raised the subject while talking with the FBI about an unrelated subject: a video of Anna Nicole Smith.
But he said agents dismissed his report, the dealer said, telling him that "they didn't want to be involved in another weird celebrity case."
"The guy flat-out told me he had items stolen from O.J. Simpson's house," Riccio told the AP. "I have a legitimate business."
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Thomas Riccio did not indicate a crime would be committed. Riccio was advised to contact a lawyer before taking action and was told that alerting the FBI would not absolve him of any crime(s).
Riccio said he was not clear how the O.J. Simpson operation would unfold.
There was no mention in the report of any plans to use guns, a central component of the case now being made against O.J. Simpson and his co-defendants.
"I went along with O.J.'s plan," Riccio said. "It was a self-organized sting operation. Except for the end, with him bringing people with guns. I knew nothing about that."
O.J. Simpson, 60, and five other men were arrested after they allegedly stormed a Las Vegas hotel room with guns September 13 to seize items believed to include family photos and the suit Simpson wore the day he was acquitted of murder.Las Vegas police said the FBI did not alert them before the confrontation between Simpson and collectors Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong.
"They contacted us afterward and provided us with the documentation," said Las Vegas Police Detective Andy Caldwell, the investigator of the case.
Caldwell said he had no information about any FBI investigation.
Riccio, who previously sold Anna Nicole Smith's diary, said that he spoke for an hour with FBI agents about a video a doctor shot of Smith's breast implant surgery. At the end of the discussion, agents gave him about 15 minutes to discuss Simpson.
After they expressed little interest, Thomas Riccio said he contacted Los Angeles Police, where he said kept being switched from one department to the next before finally being told to file a civil complaint.
"No one seemed to be concerned about it," Riccio said.
An LAPD spokesman declined to comment on Riccio's account.
Twelve years after his murder acquittal, O.J. Simpson is being charged with an assortment of felonies such as armed robbery and kidnapping.
As of last week, three co-defendants have since pleaded guilty to lesser charges and said they would testify against Simpson in exchange for their pleas.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled next week in Las Vegas.
FBI reports dated Aug. 21 and Sept. 19, said Riccio told agents he had been approached by Beardsley, who wanted to sell thousands of Simpson items.
"Riccio and Simpson want to do a television broadcast confronting Beardsley regarding the items that were stolen," one of the reports said.
"Simpson wanted Riccio's assistance in setting up the operation and helping obtain interviews for Simpson through various media outlets after the fact."
The documents said Riccio described Beardsley as a fanatic and said Riccio contacted Simpson about the items. Simpson said his belongings were stolen from his Florida house by his former agent, Mike Gilbert, and others.
Probably not Christie Prody. But one never knows with O.J.