OJ Simpson witness tells of hotel confrontation

Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:32pm EDT
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By Dan Whitcomb

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room with five men, shouting about his "stolen stuff," then had his accomplices cram 800 memorabilia items into pillow cases and haul them away, a sports dealer told a court on Monday as Simpson's kidnap and robbery trial opened.

Bruce Fromong, the first witness to testify in a case that could send Simpson to prison for life, said he was expecting to meet a memorabilia buyer at the Palace Station hotel and casino in September 2007 when the former "Trial of the Century" defendant and his sidekicks instead burst into the 12th-floor room.

Fromong said Simpson was hurling angry accusations at him and a second sports dealer, Alfred Beardsley. One of Simpson's cohorts was pointing a gun, Fromong said, and another had a firearm sticking out of his pants.

"When (Simpson) first came through the door he stopped, then he proceeded into the room and started hollering at everyone," said Fromong, who has known Simpson since before the infamous Los Angeles murder trial and helped sell memorabilia.

"He was just yelling about how this is his stuff, how could you steal my stuff, I thought you were an OK guy, how could you steal my s---," Fromong said. "He said: 'Don't let anybody leave this room, nobody gets out of here.' "

Under questioning by a defense lawyer, Fromong became tearful as he described himself as once Simpson's "best friend" who had his feelings hurt by the hotel room confrontation.

Simpson sat stone-faced at the defense table as the sports memorabilia dealer sniffled and dabbed his eyes.


<p>Defendant O.J. Simpson appears in court for the opening day of his trial on September 15, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Simpson is charged with a total of twelve counts including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon stemming from an alleged incident involving the theft of his sports memorabilia. REUTERS/Jae C. Hong/Pool</p>