FBI Told of O.J. Simpson's Memorabilia Plan in Advance

Federal agents learned three weeks in advance that O.J. Simpson and a memorabilia dealer planned an operation to retrieve personal items Simpson said were stolen from him, according to FBI reports obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

Dealer Thomas Riccio told FBI agents Aug. 21 that Simpson wanted to televise the operation as he confronted a collector who was peddling thousands of pieces of Simpson's memorabilia.

Riccio was advised to contact a lawyer before taking any action and was told that alerting the FBI would not absolve him of any potential crime, agent Linda Kline wrote of the meeting, which occurred in Los Angeles.

Simpson, 60, and five other men were arrested after they allegedly stormed with guns drawn into a Las Vegas hotel room Sept. 13 to seize items that were believed to include family photos and the suit Simpson wore the day he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

Las Vegas Police Detective Andy Caldwell, the investigator handling the case, said Friday the FBI did not alert his department before the confrontation between Simpson and collectors Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong in a room at a Las Vegas casino hotel.

"They contacted us afterward and provided us with the documentation," Caldwell told the AP.

He said he had no information about any FBI investigation into the incident and said he has no idea about the nature of the contact between federal agents and Riccio "or why they were talking with him."

FBI spokesman Laura Eimiller declined to comment on the interview.

Riccio told the AP on Friday that he called Los Angeles police and the FBI and "no one seemed to be concerned about it. They didn't seem all that interested."

Simpson, 60, is charged with an assortment of felonies including armed robbery and kidnapping. Three of his co-defendants have since pleaded guilty to lesser charges and said they would testify against Simpson. A preliminary hearing is scheduled next week in Las Vegas.

The FBI reports, written Aug. 21 and Sept. 19, said Riccio told agents he had been approached by Beardsley, who wanted to sell thousands of Simpson items.

The documents said Riccio described Beardsley as a fanatic and said Riccio contacted Simpson about the items. Simpson said his belongings were stolen from his Florida house by his former agent, Mike Gilbert, and others who had worked for him.

"Riccio and Simpson want to do a television broadcast confronting Beardsley regarding the items that were stolen," one report said. "Simpson wanted Riccio's assistance in setting up the operation and helping obtain interviews for Simpson through various media outlets after the fact."