A Sports memorabilia collector describes the incident in question like a "military invasion"
With O.J. Simpson looking on stoically, one of the men accusing him of robbery took the stand at his preliminary hearing Thursday, describing the alleged break in and robbery as a “military invasion.”
Appearing before Judge Joe Bonaventure, Sports memorabilia collector Bruce Fromong testified that he was in a Las Vegas hotel room Sept. 13 when Simpson and a band of other men “burst” through the door. One of the men “came in with a gun drawn and pointed right at me … this lasted about 5 or 6 minutes,” he said.
“O.J. never brandished a gun,” he included.
Auction house owner Thomas Riccio, who contacted Simpson about the memorabilia, testified, “O.J. was mainly the one plotting this out.”
While Fromong brought the collectibles, which included several signed footballs, photographs and a few other items, there was some question about who they really belonged to and whether they were acquired legally. “Everything in that room was mine,” Fromong said.
While most of hearing was fairly mundane, interest was ratcheted up when prosecutors played recordings of the incident in which Simpson can be clearly heard saying, “You think you can steal my s—?”
They followed that recording with another one of Simpson leaving a voice mail on Riccio’s cell phone. Again, Simpson can be clearly heard saying that there were no guns present. “I don’t know what they talking about a gun.”
While the prosecution tried setting up the incident and placing Simpson on scene where sports memorabilia was taken, defense attorney Gabriel Grasso attempted to question the validity of the men involved, as well as lay a foundation for what he implied were Simpson’s items to begin with.
The three men who accepted plea deals to testify against Simpson are expected to be called to the stand on Friday. The court is prepared for the hearing to carry over into Saturday.
Simpson will not take the stand during the preliminary hearing, and should Bonaventure decide there is enough evidence for trial, it’s likely the case wouldn’t begin until next year.