NV vs. Simpson – A Jury Field Trip and more tapes…..
Posted by thedarwinexception on September 19, 2008
So as of right now, no one has approached Judge Fidler to televise the Spector 2 trial. Are you pissed about that? Go sign the petition here:
If you are. Not that petitions ever do anything, but…..
I’d suggest some well paced emails and telephone calls – but I’m not quite sure to whom you should direct those.
Today was a short day – court started late since the jury went on a surprise field trip to the Palace Station hotel this morning. The judge decided late yesterday afternoon that the mock up the state had built wasn’t going to be sufficient, so she brought them all over to the real thing.
There was one reporter present as a pool reporter for the media, and one videographer from Tru TV to record what the jury saw. Although there was video, they had no sound.
Here’s the video of the hotel room – it isn’t much, but it represents how very small this room was. Alternate juror number 5 reached up to the top of the armoire to feel around where the recorder was hidden, and Juror number paced off the room to measure the distance between the back chair and the door.
When court finally re-convenes the judge explains to the jury that although they tried to re-create the room as much as possible as to how it was that night, they couldn’t, really, since the incident had taken place at night and the jury viewed it in the morning.
Tom Riccio is back on the stand, and there’s more tape playing in our future, I fear.
Mr. Owens starts by asking Riccio about the last tape and where they left off – with Riccio out in the hall with Christy Prody, having just met Alexander and McClinton as they came into OJ’s room. After this exchange, Riccio said goodbye to his friend Lowell Katz, who had been with him and he went back to his room at the Palace Station.
Riccio said that Beardsley was endlessly calling him – he called several times saying “We get to get the deal done….we need to get the deal done.” At this point Riccio still had gotten the exact time or place all this was going to go down.
Riccio then got a call from Charles Ehrlich saying that it was going to happen at Riccio’s room at 6 pm. Then Beardsley called again, anxious to get the deal going. Riccio says that Beardsley was worried that Riccio would go behind Beardsley’s back and cut him out of the deal, so he was secretive with the seller’s name and information and wanted to get the deal happening as soon as possible. Riccio told him to be at the Palace Station at 6 – that the buyer would be there then.
Beardlsey arrived at Riccio’s hotel early – around 5:30. Riccio met him in the lobby area around front and they went back to room 1203 together. Later, they went to the bar area and had something to eat while they waited for Bruce Fromong and the “buyers” to arrive.
While they were waiting Beardsley finally told Riccio that it was Fromong who was the seller. Riccio didn’t recognize the name. Riccio says Beardsley had tons of questions – did the buyer have cash? Will he buy everything? Who is he? And Riccio says he, too, was asking Beardsley questions – where did the stuff come from? How did this guy get it? How much stuff was there? Riccio says he was telling old stories about stolen property, trying to get Beardsley to say that this stuff was stolen.
Riccio says he finally got tired of being with the unbearable Beardsley, and using the excuse of wanting to watch a Yankees game, they went to the sports bar to get something to eat.
Riccio, of course, was recording the entire conversation – tape 5 is that conversation, and they play tape 5 for the jury.
When the tape is done, Owens has Riccio pick up the next part of the story. Riccio says Fromong arrived right at 6 pm. He and Beardsley were still at the bar area. Fromong introduced himself and Riccio can tell he’s a little nervous, a little antsy asking “Where are your guys at?” Riccio says he asked Fromong where the stuff was at, and when Fromong says the stuff is in his truck, they go out to the truck to take a look at it.
Riccio says he was concerned when he saw the stuff, because it didn’t seem to be the amount of stuff that had been previously described to him. Riccio says he asked if this was all the guy had, because in his business some guys will bring out a small amount and have you buy that, and then bring out more and try to get you to buy that, and sell lots piecemeal. Fromong said this was all he had.
Riccio’s phone rang and it was Charles Ehrlich, the guy Riccio had met previously at the Palms Pool with OJ, the guy who was supposed to act as the buyer in the deal. Riccio says he told Ehrlich that he was there with the sellers and that it didn’t seem like he had all the stuff they had previously though he was going to have, but he did have some footballs and plaques and stuff, and he asked Ehrlich if he still wanted to go through with it. Ehrlich said yeah, they still wanted to. Ehrlich asked Riccio to put one of the guys on the phone, and Riccio put Beardsley on the phone with Ehrlich.
Riccio said he was nervous about doing this, because he knew Ehrlich didn’t know jack shit about memorabilia, and he thought he could blow the whole thing. He says his fears were well grounded when he heard Ehrlich on the phone – instead of acting like the rich Italian guy that Riccio had made him out to be to Fromong and Beardsley, he was acting like a gangsta hood kind of guy, saying things like “I got the scratch, you got the fucking stuff or what?” Riccio says he knew at that point that he didn’t want Ehrlich going in the room posing as the buyer – even Beardsley looked a little skeptical.
Riccio says they then got a bellboy and brought the stuff to room 1203.
Owens then shows Riccio the hotel videotape of Riccio, Beardsley and Fromong taking the stuff on a cart with the bellboy from the valet area into the lobby.
Riccio says they spread everything on the bed – although he told them that the buyer wouldn’t be interested in the Montana and Pete Rose stuff, just the OJ stuff. Riccio says he spread it all on the bed so that when OJ came in the room it would be easy for him to identify the stuff, Riccio still wasn’t sure at this point if the stuff was really OJ’s, or if it was even real. Riccio says you never know what you are going to get with Beardsley. Riccio says that if OJ couldn’t identify it as his stuff, the plan was to just say “No thanks” and leave. If it was OJ’s the plan was to just tell the sellers that this was OJ’s stuff and they could give it to OJ or they would call the police.
Riccio says he then took out his new IPhone and took some pictures of Beardsley with the stolen stuff.
Owens then asks Riccio about the book Riccio wrote that included this whole experience and Riccio says yeah, his book “Busted”. Riccio says that some of the pictures he took of Beardsley and the stuff are in that book.
Riccio says that he was expecting one or two people to show up with OJ – not the group of people that eventually arrived. But they were late – they were supposed to be there at 6 and at 6:30 Ehrlich called again and said they were running late – then again at 7 and at 7:30 – they kept calling saying they would be there- they were running late.
Finally they called and said they were at the casino. They said they were going to the 13th floor -thinking that this was where they would find room 1203 – but since Riccio’s room was on the first floor, he told them to wait, that he would go to the lobby and get them. Riccio said this would be better, anyway, because he really didn’t want Ehrlich coming in the room acting like the buyer – not with his earlier performance.
Riccio says that before this time, all the plans and decisions had been made by OJ – but now Riccio was kind of taking control and telling OJ – “look, this buyer thing isn’t going to work, let’s just all go in at once and you can see if the stuff is yours – it’s all laid out on the bed, let’s just all go in.” Riccio says he didn’t really wait for OJ to say anything, he just went to the lobby and said “This is the plan, now.” Ehrlich asked if the sellers had any guns and Riccio told him “No, they aren’t like that. They’re fine.” This conversation wasn’t recorded – at this point Riccio had put the recorder on top of the armoire.
Riccio says they went to the room and Riccio let them in – Riccio doesn’t remember the order they entered the room in, but OJ was one of the last ones to enter – immediately OJ seemed to recognize the men in the room and he went straight to them and started yelling. Riccio says the sellers seemed cowed and they were pushing the stuff towards OJ, and that everything seemed to be going as planned – they were conciliatory, saying “Mike stole it! Mike stole it!” and seemed to be agreeable to just giving it to OJ.
The someone took a litho or something that wasn’t OJ’s and Fromong got a little upset – he said “Hey! That’s my Montana!” and McClinton pulled out a gun and started yelling and barking orders. Riccio sys he was scared t that point – he wasn’t expecting anyone to be there with a gun, and he’s very anti-gun. McClinton pointed the gun at him, and with OJ yelling at him like he was one of the seller’s, so as to not blow Riccio’s cover, Riccio was getting more and more nervous. He didn’t know McClinton and didn’t know if McClinton knew that Riccio was on his side.
Although Riccio was intimidated by the gun, and shrinking in the corner, he says the sellers didn’t seem to be intimidated at all, and weren’t as cooperative as Riccio thought they should have been, seeings how there was a gun and all. Riccio says they were a little defiant, arguing about “That’s my phone – don’t take my phone!” And arguing over who’s Montana litho it was. Riccio says one of them was frisked, they were both pushed up against the wall but he doesn’t remember who did the frisking.
The Riccio says the property all got stuffed into pillowcases, and that everyone who was with OJ was helping to do this. Riccio says that all in all, he thought the whole thing was overkill for the original plan – too many people and too many guns, for sure.
But he did remember OJ telling the sellers that anything that he took that wasn’t his would be returned. And Riccio says he sounded sincere. OJ wasn’t there to rob anyone of stuff that wasn’t his – he just wanted his own stuff back.
Tape number 6 is then played for the jury
When the tape is through, Owens again has some questions.
He asks Riccio who it was that he was on the phone with immediately after the incident. Riccio says that was Charlie Ehrlich again – that Riccio told him “Dude, they called the cops – the cops are coming.”
Riccio says that when the cops got there – he went out into the hallway with them and told them what was really happening, and what his part in it had been, although before the cops got there he had been trying to convince Fromong and Beardsley that he was a victim just like they had been.
Owens then asks about the part of the conversation Riccio had with Fromong and Beardsley where he says that one of the guys with OJ was a policeman – Riccio says he wasn’t sure about that – but he told Fromong and Beardsley that to try and stop them from calling the cops – but it was to no avail – there was no dissuading them from calling 911.
Owens asks about the phone call heard on the tape when Beardsley is talking to OJ – Riccio explains that OJ called and Riccio put Beardsley on the phone with OJ. The Riccio got back on the phone with OJ and told OJ that Fromong and Beardsley had called the cops.
Riccio says when he was talking to the police OJ called him again – but he didn’t answer. OJ left a message on the phone. It wasn’t for 10 or 15 minutes that Riccio could listen to the message – it was basically OJ asking why everyone was talking about guns being in the room – there were no guns in the room, and asking Riccio to call OJ back. Immediately after Riccio retrieved the message and listened to it – OJ called again and this time Riccio answered the phone. He told OJ that he was standing there talking to the police and that yes, he had told them there was a gun in the room. OJ sounded very depressed about that. Riccio also told OJ that he had told the cops where OJ was staying – which made OJ even more depressed. OJ then asked Riccio to put the “lead guy” on the phone and Riccio gave the phone to Officer Hunt. Riccio says that unlike the depressed OJ he had just had a conversation with – the OJ who was talking to the officer was upbeat and jovial and laughing – and the officer was laughing as well.
Owens asks Riccio if this message he is referring to that OJ left on the phone was the one he later turned over to the police. Riccio says yes, and Owens plays the message for the jury.
Riccio says he finished his statements with the police, and the recorder was still in the room. He started thinking then that this incident was probably something he could make money from, and he began to wonder if the police had found the recorder. Finally he was escorted tot he room by a policeman, who allowed him 30 seconds to get his stuff. When the officers back was turned he reached up and grabbed the recorder. He didn’t actually know if it had worked – or if it had recorded anything. He didn’t get to listen to it until he was on the plane for home the next morning.
Eventually, he gave the recorder to the police. He establishes that the recorder was always in his custody – that the 6 minute piece he licensed to TMZ was uploaded to a computer and the computer brought to TMZ, not the recorder. Riccio explains that he didn’t sell the recording to TMZ until after OJ was already arrested – he didn’t want the tape to be the basis for anyone getting arrested, but after that already happened, he saw no harm in selling the tape. But after Fromong and Beardsley went to TMZ and were bad mouthing him, calling him a criminal and that he had set them up, he wanted everyone to know that it was Fromong and Beardsley who had stolen property they were trying to sell.
After Riccio got back to California, there were three more phone calls – all from OJ, that Riccio taped on the same recorder.
Owens plays those three tapes for the jurors and then court is recessed for the day.
To Sum Up: A good way to see the hotel rooms on the strip in Vegas is to get on a jury; If you want to see the better side of OJ, be a police man and get him on the phone; Sometimes a $59.95 recorder from Radio Shack can net you a $100K deal with TMZ