Simpson Seen Fleeing Vegas in Bronco
Former Star Says Robbery Accusation "Just a Misunderstanding"
LAS VEGAS - Former NFL great O.J. Simpson was spotted fleeing the city limits of Las Vegas , NV today, hours after police named him a suspect in an alleged armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel.
The Hall-of-Fame superstar was spotted leaving the city in a white Bronco with license plates IM OJ, which eyewitnesses reported was traveling at an unusually slow rate of speed.
Simpson, whose only previous brush with the law was a 1995 acquittal in a double homicide, was identified as a suspect in the break-in, which occurred at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino. The gridiron great was accused of having stolen merchandise belonging to sports memorabilia dealer Thomas Riccio. Simpson, however, insisted the whole thing was a "misunderstanding."
"I just want to set the record straight," Simpson said in a phone interview with Fox News legal analyst Greta Van Susteren." Speaking loudly to make himself heard above what sounded like the sounds of traffic, Simpson explained further. "After the success of casino crime capers such as Ocean's 11, 12 and 13, my agent and I discussed the possibility of my return to an acting career. What happened in at the Palace Station Casino was simply an audition for a role in the upcoming Ocean's 14 - nothing more than that. The whole thing is just a misunderstanding."
Simpson's comments to Van Susteren appeared to contradict an earlier statement he made to CNN legal analyst Roger Cossack, in which the former Hollywood star, who ironically played a police detective in the Naked Gun movie series, said he was researching a role in the upcoming remake of the award-winning movie The Sting. "I was there simply to gather research for the movie role - nothing more than that," Simpson told Cossack. "The whole thing is just a misunderstanding."
Van Susteren and Cossack are scheduled to debate the conflicting Simpson statements in an exclusive interview with Mary Hart on the syndicated program Entertainment Tonight. Viewers are urged to check their local listings for the time and channel of the show in their area.
In a late development, Las Vegas police announced that Simpson's whereabouts are unknown. They did confirm, however, that Kato Kaelin, currently co-starring in a television series based on the movie The Great Escape, was being interviewed as a possible material witness.