Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Sordid O.J. Simpson Saga

I don't normally like to make comments about celebrity tabloid news, but one news item I heard on the radio this morning caught my attention. The interview that Thomas Riccio gave to the LA Times doesn't help O.J. Simpson's case:

He told the Los Angeles Times he arranged the meeting after receiving a phone call about a month ago from a person who claimed to have personal items -- including footballs, awards and photos -- that had belonged to Simpson and wanted to sell them.

"Simpson was supposed to show up, identify the items and tell the men to either give the stuff back or he would call the police," Riccio told the newspaper. (emphasis mine)

Let me see if I get this straight: Simpson allegedly was going to threaten someone with criminal prosecution if they "didn't give him his stuff back."

Someone needs to explain to O.J. Simpson the legal definition of extortion:


The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right

And this:

Elements of Offense

Virtually all extortion statutes require that a threat must be made to the person or property of the victim. Threats to harm the victim's friends or relatives may also be included. It is not necessary for a threat to involve physical injury. It may be sufficient to threaten to accuse another person of a crime or to expose a secret that would result in public embarrassment or ridicule. The threat does not have to relate to an unlawful act.

So, if Thomas Riccio was telling the truth to the LA Times about what Simpson's intent was prior to the actual incident, Simpson might have gotten into legal trouble anyway.

This is an example of why you don't engage in vigilante justice.

Having said that, I think I know the real reason why Simpson didn't just call the police: had he done so, news undoubtedly would have gotten out as to the whereabouts of his personal assets -- which then would have alerted the Goldmans and would probably would have been seized to pay the civil judgment against Mr. Simpson.

This is pure speculation on my part, but it makes sense to me. In his attempt to keep assets from the Goldmans, he apparently had to do business with some shady people. I don't doubt that some of them took advantage of his precarious situation; but it was somewhat a dilemma of his own making.

Now the Goldmans know where the assets are and will undoubtedly start legal action to recover these assets and Mr. Simpson is finding himself in a lot of legal hot water to boot.

No comments: