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Lawyers haggle over O.J. Simpson's suit

June 15, 2009 |  1:34 pm

While O.J. Simpson wiled away another morning in a Nevada prison, a group of attorneys and former acquaintances gathered in a Santa Monica courtroom to debate the rightful ownership of assorted memorabilia, including the brownish-green suit Simpson wore during his 1995 acquittal.

A onetime agent for the NFL star, Mike Gilbert, said at the hearing that he had the jacket, trousers and dress shirt locked in a storage unit near his home in Fresno. Gilbert says Simpson gave him the suit the morning after the acquittal, although Simpson’s current lawyer says the garments are fakes.

Judge Gerald Rosenberg ordered Gilbert not to sell or otherwise dispose of the suit until he determined if it belonged to the father of slaying victim Ronald Goldman, Fred Goldman, who is trying to collect his portion of the $33.5-million civil judgment against Simpson.

Gilbert contends the acquittal suit is his sole property because Simpson gave it to him prior to the 1997 civil verdict.

“I should have worn it today,” he quipped to the judge.

The judge gave attorneys for Goldman permission to depose Gilbert about other items he has that are connected to Simpson. The agent said a host of Simpson memorabilia -- footballs, golf clubs and even the retired athlete’s Bentley -- has been turned over to authorities in the last dozen years, but he refused to give the Goldman attorneys an accounting of items he currently has.

According to his comments at the courthouse, those items range from the Coke can he drank from during his first visit to Simpson’s home two decades ago to 5,000 envelopes he paid Simpson to autograph at the time of his murder trial. Also during the hearing, the two collectibles dealers Simpson was convicted of robbing in Las Vegas said they will contest a planned sheriff’s sale of two boxes of memorabilia used as evidence last year in the Nevada trial.

Simpson is serving nine to 33 years for armed robbery and kidnapping. The victims, Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley, told the judge they will argue that jerseys and other items belong to them. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

-- Harriet Ryan

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