Crowd Gathers To Gain 15-Second Piece Of O.J. Simpson's Fame

These days, when O.J. Simpson arrives in town, a circus comes too.

A gaggle of publicity-seekers with signs - and one man dressed only in a barrel - showed up Thursday outside the Las Vegas courtroom where a judge was to determine if Simpson should be tried on charges including armed robbery and kidnapping in a sports memorabilia heist.

Real estate salesman Scot Savage, 43, showed up in a tie-dyed T-shirt and a sign advertising his Web site, OJtalk.com, to host a debate on the former football star's guilt or innocence and to try to sell his own collectibles.

"I'm like, hey, how can I make a buck off this happening four miles from my house?" he said.

Since appearing behind a dozen television reporters doing stand-ups, he said he's sold "hundreds" of mugs, T-shirts and stress balls proclaiming either Simpson's guilt or innocence before the preliminary hearing had even begun.

About 60 percent to 70 percent bought "guilty" merchandise.

"People can purchase how they feel," he said.

Two preachers with signs spouted competing sermons.

A woman in a rabbit costume bearing the words "Stop police brutality"
roller-skated by a large law enforcement contingent as a helicopter
circled overhead.

Joe Pepitone, a 67-year-old Las Vegas butcher, was half naked with only a barrel covering his loins and a sign pleading his case - that he won a $463,855 jackpot at a local casino but was never paid.

A female bystander walked by and peeked in the barrel to see if he was wearing underwear and giggled. He was.

"People are laughing, but I'm helping them," Pepitone said, showing his Nevada driver's license to prove he had not co-opted the name of the first baseman who starred for the New York Yankees in the 1960s.

The slugger's his third cousin.

A man in a chicken suit walked around with the signs "OJ Guilty" and "If I Did It!!" with the "If" crossed out.

He said he thought Simpson should have been convicted for the 1994 slayings of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

"Back in '94, I feel he got off without justice being served and I really want to make a statement," said the man, who only identified himself as Chicken George, a 45-year-old Las Vegan.

"I guess this is truth in comedy. I just don't think he's going to get away with it this time."


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