Memorabilia dealer testifies at O.J. Simpson hearing, says football star burst into hotel room - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memorabilia dealer testifies at O.J. Simpson hearing, says football star burst into hotel room

LAS VEGAS (AP) - One of two memorabilia dealers allegedly robbed by O.J. Simpson testified Thursday that the former football star burst into a hotel room with a handful of other men, including one wielding a gun, and carried off hundreds of collectors items.

Bruce Fromong said he had expected to meet with an anonymous buyer on Sept. 13, when Simpson arrived and shouted that the items belonged to him.

"O.J. was screaming, 'This is all my s---. This all belongs to me. You stole this from me. Let's pack up. Let's get out of here,"' Fromong said.

Simpson, 60, and two co-defendants are charged with robbery, kidnapping and other offenses. Thursday's hearing was to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to take them to trial.

Fromong, who testified he has known Simpson since the early 1990s, said the confrontation lasted no more than five or six minutes and ended with the group stuffing hundreds of items into pillowcases and leaving the Palace Station hotel-casino.

Fromong said some of the items had nothing to do with Simpson but were lithographs of football great Joe Montana and items signed by baseball stars Duke Snider and Pete Rose that he thought he could sell.

At one point, as everything was being packed up, Fromong said he told Simpson: "O.J., those are my Joe Montana lithos. 

"I said, 'O.J., that's my stuff. That doesn't have anything to do with anything."

Throughout the confrontation, Fromong said, one man pointed a gun at his face and told him at one point: "I'll shoot your a--."

During his cross-examination, Simpson attorney Gabriel Grasso attempted to show that Fromong planned to profit from the confrontation, asking him if he called the television show "Inside Edition" before contacting police.

"Nine-one-one was already being called," he said.

Grasso also noted that in his statement to police Fromong said Simpson had told the others: "Get my ... . Leave the other stuff alone."

Fromong was the first of eight witnesses prosecutors expected to call. The hearing was to continue Friday.

On Thursday, Simpson arrived at the courthouse in a black Hummer, surrounded by a contingent of lawyers and about a dozen uniformed officers. He did not stop to talk or make eye contact as he made his way into the building and through a metal detector.

In Simpson's mind, according to a close friend, the Las Vegas charges are rooted in the former football star being acquitted in the 1994 slayings of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

"He believes he's being tried for that now," said Tom Scotto, 45, a North Miami Beach, Fla., auto body shop owner.

"He's taking this serious. It is serious," said Scotto, who traveled from Florida with Simpson and sat in a courtroom gallery with about 50 spectators. Among them was Simpson's older sister, Mattie Shirley Simpson, Baker, 64, of Elk Grove, Calif.

Simpson has maintained that he wanted to retrieve items he knew had been stolen from him, including the suit he wore the day he was acquitted of murder in Los Angeles.

Simpson and co-defendants Clarence "C.J." Stewart and Charles Ehrlich face 12 charges, including kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy and coercion.

A kidnapping conviction could result in a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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