O J Simpson questioned in Vegas hotel break-i

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LOS ANGELES, Sep 14 (Reuters) Las Vegas police questioned O J Simpson after a memorabilia dealer told them the former football star and murder defendant robbed him at gunpoint in a Las Vegas casino hotel room, police and other sources said today.

Simpson was questioned about yesterday night's hotel room confrontation but was not taken into custody, a Las Vegas police spokeswoman said. She said the matter was still under investigation and declined to provide further details.

A lawyer for Fred Goldman, the father of one of two people Simpson was accused of stabbing to death in 1994, said the sports memorabilia dealer, Alfred Beardsley, had reported the robbery to police.

''I was told by Mr Beardsley that he was robbed at gunpoint by O J Simpson in a hotel room in Las Vegas,'' said Goldman lawyer David Cook. ''He has given a report to the Las Vegas police.'' Beardsley did not immediately return messages left by Reuters but told celebrity Web site TMZ.com in an interview that Simpson and his associates stormed into his hotel room, guns drawn, and took items of memorabilia connected to Simpson.

An attorney for Simpson could not immediately be reached for comment and a number at his home in Florida was disconnected. Simpson was believed to be in Las Vegas.

The report of a break-in and Simpson's possible involvement comes the same day his ghost-written book, ''If I Did It,'' hit retail shelves.

The book includes a chapter in which Simpson gives a hypothetical account of how he might have killed his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, on June 12, 1994.

Simpson, a star running back turned television pitchman and actor, was acquitted of the murders in 1995 at the end of a sensational criminal trial in Los Angeles.

A California jury later ruled in a civil suit brought by the victims' families that he was responsible for their deaths and ordered him to pay 33.5 million dollars in damages.

Reuters SZ VP0105

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