The robbery case of O.J. Simpson could soon be adapted into a film or television project, according to one of the fallen football star’s cohorts in the crime.
Tom Riccio, who indirectly helped Simpson hold a memorabilia dealer at gunpoint at Las Vegas hotel in 2007, says the book he wrote about the caper is being turned into a screenplay. He released the book, Busted!The Inside Story of the World of Sports Memorabilia, O.J. Simpson, and the Vegas Arrests, in 2008. It chronicles how members of his makeshift entourage stormed into a hotel room to retrieve merchandise O.J. claimed he owned.
And while the story has been in the public for 10 years, Riccio says it is coveted among Hollywood producers looking to cash on a lasting O.J. Simpson novelty. It would be the latest in a string of Simpson-related projects since the disgraced running back, actor, and TV pitchman was sentenced to 33 years in prison for the failed Vegas heist.
FX’s People vs. O.J. Simpson, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro and David Schwimmer as longtime pal Robert Kardashian, remains a popular Netflix selection. Another Netflix documentary, Kardashian: The Man Who Saved O.J. Simpson, centers on whether Kardashian hid evidence and believed his friend was guilty of the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Imprisoned former football star O.J. Simpson has a parole hearing date next month in Nevada. https://t.co/1SnAzJETx5
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Riccio testified against Simpson at the robbery trial, and on October 3, 2008, Simpson and co-defendant Clarence Stewart were found guilty. Simpson was sentenced in December. He goes in front of the parole board July 20 and could be released by October 1.
Riccio said the events of September 13, 2007, were not intended to be played out as a crime. It began with a mild confrontation inside a Palace Station hotel room he rented so Simpson could meet with the memorabilia dealer and retrieve his merchandise. The meeting was anything but friendly, and Simpson was arrested two days later and charged with a dozen felonies including kidnapping, robbery, nd conspiracy. He was booked without bail and initially faced life in prison. He later posted bail in he amount of $37,500 and was released pending trial.
He appealed the the 33-year sentenced but was denied. He was, however, granted parole on some of the charges in 2013. He wasn’t released though, remaining behind bars on the charge of robbery.
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How Busted! will play out on the screen is anybody’s guess. However, Riccio said when he compares the book to others told about Simpson and his two trials, it more than measures up.
“My story is just as crazy as the other show,” Riccio said of People vs. O.J. Simpson.
Riccio, also a memorabilia dealer, spent a total of eight years in prison himself for four felonies.
Before the robbery, he contacted the other dealer, a man named Alfred Beardsley, and had him bring items Simpson requested to the hotel because someone he knew was interested in buying them. Riccio, however, did not disclose that the potential customer was O.J. Simpson. Beardsley complied and brought along the merchandise, some of which was from Simpson’s own career.
Instead of the meeting going the way Riccio planned, O.J. Simpson recruited five men from a nearby wedding and converged on the room; Simpson ordered the men to not allow anyone to leave. Guns were pulled during the exchange. Simpson and the men left the hotel with the merchandise in pillowcases.
Riccio says if the screenplay is made into a movie, he would like to see Vince Vaughn portray him.
Simpson is currently housed at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada.
[Featured Image by Julie Jacobson/AP Images]