SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- One of the victims in an O.J.
Simpson-led robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room was ordered by a
judge Friday to turn over the ex-NFL star's Pro Football Hall of
Fame ring, even though a lawyer for the memorabilia dealer claims
he doesn't have it.
During the hearing, an investigator from the Las Vegas district
attorney's office suggested the dealer, Alfred Beardsley, had
received the ring from Simpson in exchange for changing his
testimony during the robbery case.
Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg ordered Beardsley to
produce the ring by next Friday.
Beardsley took the witness stand and invoked his Fifth Amendment
protection against self-incrimination 15 times as he was questioned
by a lawyer for Fred Goldman, who is seeking Simpson's assets in
payment of a $33.5 million civil liability judgment.
Goldman is the father of Ron Goldman, who was slain along with
Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in the notorious 1994 case.
Simpson was acquitted of murder charges but later held liable in
civil court in the wrongful death case.
Simpson is in a Nevada prison after being sentenced to nine to
33 years for the robbery-kidnapping in Las Vegas last year that
centered on his efforts to retrieve memorabilia from his storied
Bill Falkner, an investigator for the Las Vegas district
attorney and the only other witness called at Friday's hearing,
said he had transported Beardsley several times from California,
where he was in jail on a probation violation, to Las Vegas to
testify in the robbery-kidnap case.
During the final trip back to California, Falkner testified that
Beardsley told him "the only thing he received for this trouble in
the case was Mr. Simpson's Hall of Fame ring. It was given to him.
He was upset the case caused him some period of incarceration."
Beardsley's attorney Jack Swickard said he had advised his
client to invoke the Fifth Amendment because he had heard rumors of
a grand jury investigation under way in Las Vegas into possible
witness tampering by Simpson.
He asked Falkner whether there had been "bad blood" between
the investigator and Beardsley.
"I have no issues with Mr. Beardsley," Falkner testified.
However, Falkner acknowledged he was unhappy with Beardsley's
contradictory testimony at the preliminary hearing and trial in the
Falkner said Beardsley initially testified that tape recordings
of the incident at the hotel were accurate, then changed his story
and said the tapes had been altered.
"When you asked Mr. Beardsley what did you get in exchange for
your testimony, what did Mr. Beardsley say?" Swickard asked.
"Hall of Fame ring," Falkner said.
He said Beardsley had estimated the value of the ring at
"He said it was a very nice ring, and he planned to wear it to
Mr. Simpson's sentencing," the investigator said.
Beardsley did not attend the sentencing, and Falkner said he
never saw the ring.
Falkner also said he knew of phone calls between Simpson and
Beardsley after the hotel room incident. He testified that
Beardsley told him, "I talked to O.J., and it's all cool."
Outside court, Swickard said Beardsley doesn't have the ring,
and "we can't turn over what the doesn't have."
Attorney David Cook, who represents Fred Goldman, said he didn't
know if he would succeed in getting the ring.
"Maybe Mr. Beardsley is a colorful guy who likes to make up
stories," he said. "But I'm not going to pass up this
Cook said he wasn't sure if Goldman would end his quest for
Simpson's assets now that he was in prison.
"This might be the end because Simpson will be making 83 cents
a day," Cook said. "This is Mr. Goldman's quest. So for Mr.
Goldman, it never ends."