Wednesday, September 19, 2007

O.J. was set up! Heh. Gotcha.

Whether you believe it or not -- and whether it's even true or not -- you're going to hear it in the coming days, weeks and months: "O.J. Simpson was set up in Vegas." Trust me. It happened before, and it's going to happen again. Conspiracy theories follow the guy around like ... well, like Fred Goldman's lawyer. And here's what people making the case for a set-up are going to jump on:

The scene: Set-ups always happen in hotel rooms. It's neutral territory. Those in on the operation won't bring the target to their own property for the takedown, because it heightens their exposure. No one wants criminal or near-criminal activity going on in their own living rooms, especially when they're going to tape it. And they sure as hell won't try to pull the sting on the target's turf, because they can't control the variables. A neutral site like a hotel room allows them to control the environment. Plus, hotel rooms allow you to park extra manpower, surveillance equipment, etc. "right next door" -- one room over -- but totally out of sight. Remember what happened to Marion Barry: "Bitch" set him up in a hotel room.

The tape: Someone made an audiotape of the confrontation going down, which he quickly sold to You don't have tape running in a situation like that unless you want it for evidence. The sale, however, makes the tape all but useless at trial. You can't just play an audiotape -- or show a picture or a video -- in a court of law. Whoever made the tape has to testify, which means they have to be open to cross-ex about their motives. The question will be asked outside of court, though (and probably already is): How much did he get? And would he be willing to set someone up for that kind of cash?

The loot: Alfred Beardsley, one of the dudes whom Simpson allegedly threatened, was on the Today show this morning to get the clock rolling on his 15 minutes. Matt Lauer asked him: This stuff that you were trying to sell -- sports memorabilia that O.J. claims was stolen from him -- who is the rightful owner? The guy went all legalistic, saying, "That's for the courts to determine."* Lauer then pointed out that he'd just admitted on national television that he was trying to sell stuff that he didn't have clear title to. At that point, he backtracked and said, "Yeah, it's my stuff after all."* Vast conspiracy theories have been spun out of a lot less. Beardsley also said the tape had been doctored, which will be interesting when and if he ever gets to the stand. (*=paraphrase)

The Goldmans: Before Simpson's bail had even been set, the Goldman family was angling to seize whatever money he came up with to post bond before he could post it. The family also wants the courts to sort out what part of the loot actually belongs to Simpson, so they can take it and sell it, and they have already had a judge award them a Rolex watch that Simpson was seen wearing on A family lawyer told USA Today about the watch: "We pray it's not a fake. We pray it says 'Made in Switzerland,' not in Bangkok." Earlier this year, the Goldmans were able to confiscate the rights to Simpson's confessional book If I Did It -- but rather than burn it as the abomination it is, they released it. Simpson's arrest has reportedly goosed sales, which means more money for the Goldman family. About the book, the lawyer said: "We struck gold. ... It's selling well." Someone looking for evidence of a set-up could allege that the incident was stage-managed to flush Simpson out and steer more money to the Goldmans.

So was he set up? Oh, God, don't ask me. This is just an intellectual exercise.

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