Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 | 4:21 p.m.
As O.J. Simpson sits in jail in Nevada, his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring has become the object of a custody battle in California, where a judge ordered Friday that a memorabilia dealer hand it over.
The dealer, Alfred Beardsley, is one of two men Simpson was convicted this month of robbing in a Las Vegas hotel room last year. Attorneys representing Fred Goldman in his effort to collect his share of a $33.5 million wrongful death judgment say they have learned Simpson gave the ring to Beardsley sometime after the robbery.
Following a hearing that lasted no more than five minutes, Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg ordered that Beardsley, 46, appear in his courtroom Nov. 19 and produce the ring. He also ordered Simpson, who is in jail in Las Vegas awaiting sentencing, to not make any effort to dispose of the ring.
But Rosenberg also noted that getting Beardsley to court next month could be problematic. The memorabilia dealer is incarcerated at a state prison in Chino on a parole violation. He was convicted in 2003 of stalking a woman.
"How are you going to get him here?" Rosenberg asked Goldman attorney Peter Haven.
"We'll make the arrangements," Haven replied.
Haven is one of two attorneys representing Goldman, the father of Ron Goldman, who was stabbed to death with Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in Los Angeles in 1994.
Simpson was acquitted of those killings but later held liable for the deaths by a civil court jury that ordered him to pay the victims' survivors $33.5 million.
Most of that judgment remains unpaid, but Fred Goldman has dedicated his life to making Simpson hand over as many of his assets as possible, saying it is the only way to achieve justice for his son. His attorneys believe the ring could be auctioned for as much as $50,000.
Neither Beardsley nor his attorney, Jack Neil Swickard, were in court Friday. Swickard said by phone that he was visiting Beardsley in prison at the time and was unaware of the hearing.
"This is the first time I've heard about it," he said. "I did hear something about a fracas about a ring, and I did talk to Alfred today, but we didn't talk about a ring."
Ronald Slates, the attorney who has represented Simpson in his battles with Goldman, told Rosenberg he has no idea where the ring is. He asked that he not be held responsible if Simpson does dispose of it, saying he is no longer in touch with him.
Goldman attorney David Cook said outside court that Clark County, Nev., District Attorney David Roger told him Beardsley has the ring. He said Roger, who prosecuted Simpson in the Las Vegas case, told him the memorabilia dealer was on a bus taking him back to jail when he boasted that Simpson gave it to him.
Roger has declined to comment until after Simpson is sentenced in December.
Simpson, 61, faces a maximum of life in prison.
(This version corrects name to Pro Football Hall of Fame, not NFL Hall of Fame.)