Thursday, September 20, 2007

Look-alike Asians are now just messing with us

One of the main figures in the new OJ affair is Tom Riccio, a memorabilia dealer with a long rap sheet. Riccio secretly audio taped OJ as Riccio helped and encouraged the Juice to hatch a plan to retrieve the collectibles OJ believed were still his to hide from the Goldman family. Riccio also had the tape recorder on when OJ busted into a Vegas hotel room like he had seen one too many episodes of Cops.

Riccio then sold portions of the audio tapes to the website -- which was conveniently launching its broadcast television version the week of OJ redux. This has lead some people to question the relationship of Riccio, who had also been a bit player in the Ann Nicole Smith story, and TMZ.

Even if he didn't have an explicit deal with TMZ to get the goods on OJ trying to get the goods -- and I seriously doubt he did -- Riccio, or any morally flexible celebrity hanger-on, knows that keeping a recording device running while nudging a notorious tabloid-worthy figure towards a making a poor decision has the potential to add up to many dollars as long as there are TMZs out there to pay.

While this might sound like entrapment, it's not. Entrapment is a legal term which only applies to law enforcement. But it is still quite sleazy.

But don't worry, TMZ got their's yesterday when it reported OJ part one judge Lance Ito was spotted in the crowd outside the Clark County Detention Center just as OJ part two was released on bail. The website even ran a video of an interview (now unavailable) it did with Ito. In the interview Ito gleefully declared OJ "guilty as sin."

Only it wasn't Lance Ito they interviewed. It was someone named Jeff Lee. Lee had the gall, as a middle-aged Asian man with a beard, to stand in close proximity to the OJ circus and then deviously play along when a TMZ cameraman couldn't help but identify him as Lance Ito.

Again, it's not entrapment -- but it is quite sleazy.

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