First the suspects in the O.J. Simpson heist case turned against each other. Now it's the alleged victims' turn.
A memorabilia dealer who initially said he was robbed at gunpoint by Simpson during a deal gone wrong is now suing the collectibles broker that arranged the meeting.
Alfred Beardsley claims he was set up and defrauded by Thomas Riccio.
"Mr. Beardsley feels the whole thing was set up by Mr. Riccio, and he was lured out there to a false news event,'' said Jack Neil Swickard, a lawyer in Newport Beach, Calif., who filed the lawsuit Tuesday.
"It's upset him and he thinks it's wrong,'' Swickard said.
Beardsley and a second memorabilia dealer, Bruce Fromong, say they went to the Palace Station hotel-casino last September at Riccio's request. Riccio arranged for them to meet with a collector interested in buyer memorabilia from Simpson's football career. The collector turned out to be Simpson and he wanted his items back.
Simpson and two co-defendants, Charles Ehrlich and Clarence "C.J.'' Stewart, are scheduled to stand trial April 7 on kidnapping and armed robbery charges. They have pleaded not guilty; two others involved in the incident have testified against Simpson at a preliminary hearing.
Beardsley has said he wants to be removed from the Simpson case.
His lawsuit, filed in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif., alleges 10 causes of action against Riccio, ranging from fraud and invasion of privacy to infliction of emotional distress and "interference with prospective economic advantage.''
Riccio, who said Tuesday he had not seen the lawsuit, fired back at Beardsley, calling him mentally "unstable'' and suggesting he might countersue Beardsley for allegedly defrauding Riccio during a 2004 business encounter.
"I'm going to call him a delusional accuser against me,'' Riccio told The Associated Press. "It's America, and even delusional accusers have a right to make their accusations.''
Riccio's lawyer, Ryan Okabe of Redondo Beach, Calif., declined to comment.