Alfred Beardsley is the sports memorabilia dealer whom O.J. Simpson and pals allegedly ambushed last week in Las Vegas.
But so far unreported is that Beardsley — who’s been dealing in Simpson memorabilia since 1982 — has been part of the ex-football’s star long-running legal feud with Fred Goldman, O.J.’s nemesis and father of Ron Goldman, for more than a decade.
In 1996, a civil jury held Simpson responsible for the murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, setting a $33.5 million judgment against Simpson.
Ever since then, Fred Goldman has been chasing Simpson through the courts to get his money. Beardsley has been part of that chase since 1994.
Sources tell me that Beardsley was a source of financial information for the Goldmans in 1996 during the civil trial, and helped them win their enormous settlement.
The Goldmans’ former attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, didn’t answer an e-mail Wednesday. But I am told that it was Beardsley who helped steer him in the right direction when he was trying to determine Simpson’s assets.
Beardsley has always stayed in the Simpson mix. In 1999, he took Simpson’s side when the former football star’s Heisman trophy was being sold at auction.
He told Associated Press reporter Linda Deutsch at the time: "It bothers me that I'm putting money in the Goldman and Brown pockets. I believe he's not responsible for this crime, and I think there are a lot of people who believe that."
Nevertheless, it’s believed that he bought the 1968 Heisman trophy -- the first and maybe only one ever to be auctioned — from the winner of that 1999 sale.
The trophy was originally sold to Tom Kreissman of Philadelphia at Butterfield’s auction house on Sunset Boulevard for $230,000. But a source at Butterfield’s says Kreissman returned and sold it a couple of years later. It’s thought that Beardsley was the buyer.
Beardsley was subpoenaed to testify in 2004 when Goldman was trying to track down money Simpson had received for selling memorabilia.
At the time, attorney Peter Csato represented Goldman. When I called him Wednesday, Csato refused to speak to me and hung up. But at the time, it was reported in court papers that Beardsley had “knowledge" of Simpson's "financial condition" and of his "non-exempt property, which may be ordered to be applied to the satisfaction of the judgment."
Beardsley may have been playing both sides of the fence.
But the sports collector has lots of other legal problems besides this latest dealing with Simpson. He was arrested in Las Vegas Wednesday for a parole violation. Beardsley was on parole for a 2005 stalking conviction and was not allowed to leave the state of California without permission.
And his court record in Los Angeles Superior Court is pretty impressive. He’s been a regular visitor to small claims court there for more than two decades. He’s also sued both Ikea and UPS.
His litigation also has been personal: In 1999, Beardsley sued a woman named Karen Wood for civil harassment and got a temporary restraining order issued against her, according to court records.
In 2000, the tables were turned when a man named William Rogers sued Beardsley for harassment and got a temporary restraining order issued against him.
And so it begins: Just as in the 1994 double murder case, a new cast of unsavory and or colorful characters associated with O.J. Simpson is starting to reveal itself. The idea of new “Katos” and “Faye Resnicks” is mind-blowing. And all this time, Simpson was supposed be finding “the real killers” of his ex-wife, Nicole.
And yes, just in case you were wondering, there’s a second generation of loonies in the Simpson story: Kim Kardashian, who is famous in Hollywood and supermarket tabloids for making a sex tape and being friends with Paris Hilton, is the 26-year-old daughter of Simpson’s late attorney and confidant, Robert Kardashian. Before he died of cancer in 2003, Kardashian turned on Simpson and helped author a book with Lawrence Schiller called “American Tragedy” that gave a true picture of the killings.
Brad Pitt is not just another dumb blonde. He was smart enough to produce “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” even though — as the title character — he is not the lead.
Pitt is the one big movie star you always feel is trying hard even when he’s not achieving exactly what he wants. So as Jesse James, we know he’s working up a sweat to keep up with the other actors. And he does, most of the time.
Pitt produced “Jesse James” for his Plan B production company with Brad Grey and Dede Gardner. It’s a Western, it’s long, it’s moody and mostly director Andrew Dominik has affected the first full-length feature homage to Terrence Malick.
So much of “Jesse James” is riffed off of “Days of Heaven” and other Malick films, you almost wonder if Dominik did it consciously. Luckily, he had award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins, who will undoubtedly win an Oscar for his work here.
If you see “Jesse James” — and you should — it’s because of Deakins, surely. But it’s also about a trio of actors who are so wonderful in their roles that they make the movie a treat even when it’s ponderous.
First of all, Casey Affleck hands down steals the entire film as Robert Ford. I’ve cited Ben Affleck’s younger brother over the years in other films — "Lonesome Jim," the "Ocean’s 11" movies and a comedy with Heather Graham that no one’s even seen called "Committed."
As Robert Ford, though, Casey is just a miracle of casting. Ford, a real person, was Jesse James’s sycophant and eventually killed him. Affleck’s take on him reminded me of the creepy assistants you see who follow Hollywood stars around.
As Pitt says to him as Jesse James, “Sometimes I don’t know if you want to be like me, or be me.”
Casey’s Robert Ford wants to ooze with sleaziness, but he keeps it in check just enough to ingratiate himself with Jesse James. He has a self-satisfied grin that is haunting.
Affleck is a cinch to win Best Supporting Actor next February, although there’s some talk the producers will put him in the lead category. It’s not a bad idea.
Affleck is joined in “Jesse James” by Sam Rockwell, a favorite of this column, who plays Robert’s brother Charley Ford, and Paul Schneider as Dick Liddel, a member of the James mob.
This trio literally keeps the movie going; you’re always looking for them. Rockwell is already well-established, and gives his usual excellent performance. He makes Charley, who could have been quite bland opposite Affleck’s Bob Ford, a quirky, sympathetic character.
Schneider is also in “Lars and the Real Girl” this fall as Ryan Gosling’s patient brother and does a great job.
If the “Jesse James” script were a little better constructed, Schneider’s terrific performance might win him some awards, too. For a while, Dick Liddel commands the central action in the story. But then Dominik lets him fade away as the film spools into its third, reckless hour. But Schneider is a great choice.
“Jesse James” is going to open on 15 screens Friday. Maybe it will expand into a real release. With Warner Bros, you never know what will happen.
If you’re near one of those screens, though, make sure to see it if only for those actors, and the brilliant cinematography. And kudos to Brad Pitt — looking a lot like Colin Farrell with his dark hair.
“Jesse James” is not an easy movie, and at 2 hours, 40 minutes, it has its ups and downs. But it’s not an endeavor that should simply be written off. There’s too much good stuff here.