Investigators questioned O.J. Simpson and named him a suspect Friday in a confrontation at a casino hotel room involving sports memorabilia, but the actor and former football star denied breaking into the room.
Simpson told The Associated Press he went to the room to get memorabilia that belonged to him.
Simpson said he was conducting a “sting operation” to collect his belongings when he was escorted into the room at the Palace Station casino. Police said he was a suspect in a break-in at the hotel.
The break-in was reported at the Palace Station casino late Thursday night, police spokesman Jose Montoya said. He said investigators determined the break-in involved sports collectibles.
“When they talked to him, Simpson made the comment that he believed the memorabilia was his,” Montoya said. “We’re getting conflicting stories from the two sides.”
Simpson was released after he and several associates were questioned, but he is considered a suspect in the case, Montoya said. He is believed to be in Las Vegas.
“We don’t believe he’s going anywhere,” he said.
The Heisman Trophy winner, ex-NFL star and actor lives near Miami and has been a tabloid staple since his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman were killed in 1994. Simpson was acquitted of murder charges, but a jury later held him liable for the killings in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Simpson has had to auction off his sports collectibles, including his Heisman Trophy, to pay some of the $33.5 million judgment awarded to the Goldman family.
On Thursday, the Goldman family published a book about the killings that Simpson had written under the title, “If I Did It,” about how he would have committed the crime had he actually done it. After a deal for Simpson to publish it fell through, a federal bankruptcy judge awarded the book’s rights to the Goldman family, who retitled it “If I Did It: The Confessions of a Killer.”
Fred Goldman, Ron’s Goldman’s father, defended the family’s decision to publish the book. He noted Simpson’s penchant for breaking headlines.
“He brings attention to himself every time we turn around and he will continue to do that forever,” Goldman said Friday on NBC’s “Today Show.”
Investigators in the casino case planned to give their report to prosecutors Friday, Montoya said. The district attorney’s office will decide whether to pursue charges.
Simpson had been scheduled to give a deposition Friday in Miami in a bankruptcy case involving his eldest daughter. But it was rescheduled because Simpson had told attorneys that he would be out of town.
Patricia Jones, a woman at the Florida office of Simpson attorney Yale L. Galanter who identified herself as Galanter’s associate, said Galanter was out of town and had been forwarded messages seeking comment.
The Palace Station, an aging property just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of several Station Casinos-owned resorts that cater to locals. The 1,000-room hotel-casino, with a 21-story tower and adjacent buildings, opened in 1976.
A company spokeswoman did not immediately return a call for comment.