Where's the Ring?

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- One of the victims in an O.J. Simpson-led robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room was ordered Friday by a judge to turn over the ex-NFL star's Pro Football Hall of Fame ring, even though a lawyer for the memorabilia dealer claims he doesn't have it.

Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg ordered Alfred Beardsley to produce the ring in a week.

Beardsley took the witness stand and invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination 15 times as he was questioned by a lawyer for Fred Goldman, who is seeking Simpson's assets in payment of a $33.5 million civil liability judgment.

Goldman is the father of Ron Goldman, who was slain along with Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in the notorious 1994 case. Simpson was acquitted of murder charges but later held liable in civil court in the wrongful death case.

Simpson is currently in a Nevada prison after being sentenced to nine to 33 years for the robbery-kidnapping in Las Vegas last year that centered on his efforts to retrieve memorabilia from his storied sports career.

Las Vegas district attorney's investigator Bill Falkner, the only other witness called at Friday's hearing, said he had transported Beardsley several times from California, where he was in jail on a probation violation, to Las Vegas to testify in the robbery-kidnap case.

During the final trip back to California, Falkner testified, "he told me the only thing he received for this trouble in the case was Mr. Simpson's Hall of Fame ring. It was given to him. He was upset the case caused him some period of incarceration."

He said Beardsley had estimated the value of the ring at $120,000.

"He said it was a very nice ring and he planned to wear it to Mr. Simpson's sentencing." the investigator said.

Beardsley did not attend the sentencing, and Falkner said he never actually saw the ring.

Beardsley's attorney Jack Swickard said he had advised Beardsley to invoke the Fifth Amendment because he had heard rumors that a grand jury investigation was under way in Las Vegas into possible witness tampering by Simpson.

He asked Falkner whether there had been "bad blood" between the investigator and Beardsley.

"I have no issues with Mr. Beardsley," Falkner testified.

However, he acknowledged he was unhappy with Beardsley's contradictory testimony at the preliminary hearing and trial in the robbery-kidnap case.

Falkner said he never advised Beardsley of his Miranda rights during the trip because "he was not the target of any investigation."

He also said he knew there had been phone calls between Simpson and Beardsley after the hotel room incident. He testified that Beardsley told him, "I talked to O.J. and it's all cool."

Outside court, Swickard said Beardsley doesn't have the ring, and "we can't turn over what the doesn't have."

Attorney David Cook, who represents Goldman, said he wasn't sure how much money the ring would fetch in the current memorabilia market. He jokingly compared the going price of Simpson items to the low cost of General Motors stock.

Cook wasn't sure if Fred Goldman would end his quest for assets now that Simpson was in prison.

"This might be the end because Simpson will be making 83 cents a day," Cook said. "This is Mr. Goldman's quest. so for Mr. Goldman it never ends."


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