Video: FBI knew in advance about O.J. Simpson plan

updated 11/2/2007 7:31:52 PM ET 2007-11-02T23:31:52

Federal agents learned three weeks in advance that O.J. Simpson and a memorabilia dealer planned an operation to retrieve personal items Simpson said were stolen from him, according to FBI reports obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

Dealer Thomas Riccio said he reported to the FBI a collector who claimed to have belongings taken from Simpson.

“The guy flat-out told me he had items stolen from O.J.’s house,” Riccio said. “I have a legitimate business.”

Dealer Thomas Riccio told FBI agents Aug. 21 that Simpson wanted to televise the operation as he confronted a collector, who was peddling thousands of pieces of Simpson's memorabilia.

But Riccio was not clear how the operation would unfold. There was no mention in the report of any plans to use guns.

Riccio was advised to contact a lawyer before taking any action and was told that alerting the FBI would not absolve him of any potential crime, agent Linda Kline wrote of the meeting, which occurred in Los Angeles.

“I went along with O.J.’s plan,” Riccio told the AP on Friday. “It was a self-organized sting operation. Except for the final result, with him bringing people who had guns. I knew nothing about that.”

Simpson, 60, and five other men were arrested after they allegedly stormed a Las Vegas hotel room with guns drawn Sept. 13 to seize items that were believed to include family photos and the suit Simpson wore the day he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

Vegas official: FBI did not alert us
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 handling the case.

Caldwell said he had no information about any FBI investigation into the incident.

FBI spokesman Laura Eimiller declined to comment on the interview.

Riccio told the AP on Friday that he called Los Angeles police and the FBI about Simpson’s plan and “no one seemed to be concerned about it. They didn’t seem all that interested.”

Simpson is charged with an assortment of felonies including armed robbery and kidnapping. Three of his co-defendants have since pleaded guilty to lesser charges and said they would testify against Simpson. A preliminary hearing is scheduled next week in Las Vegas.

Report: O.J. wanted event on TV
The FBI reports, written Aug. 21 and Sept. 19, said Riccio told agents he had been approached by Beardsley, who wanted to sell thousands of Simpson items.

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 who had worked for him.

“Riccio and Simpson want to do a television broadcast confronting Beardsley regarding the items that were stolen,” one report said. “Simpson wanted Riccio’s assistance in setting up the operation and helping obtain interviews for Simpson through various media outlets after the fact.”

Beardsley told police he had been robbed by Simpson and a group of men wielding guns. Simpson has denied there were any guns involved. He said Riccio set up the meeting and he planned to surprise Beardsley and retrieve his property.

Simpson told the AP he went to the hotel room after being alerted by Riccio that Beardsley and another collectibles dealer, Fromong, were trying to sell his possessions. Simpson knew both dealers.

Riccio has released a tape recording he made of the incident and been granted immunity by prosecutors.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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