LA Man Testifies Kidnappers Beat Him Over O’Neal
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LOS ANGELES (AP) – A Los Angeles music producer testified that gang members kidnapped him in 2008 and told him the reason was an “issue” with Shaquille O’Neal and his business partner, according to transcripts from a preliminary criminal hearing.
In the transcripts, producer Robert Ross – who has claimed the attack came because he said he had a sex tape featuring O’Neal – testified that his kidnappers beat him and demanded a “videotape.”
Excerpts from the Monday preliminary hearing for seven gang members accusing of kidnapping, robbery, assault and conspiracy in the attack on Ross appeared early Sunday on the Los Angeles Times’ website.
Ross testified that at one point he had a tape from his home security system of then-NBA star O’Neal having sex with a woman, but it had been recorded over.
Asked by a prosecutor if he really had such a video at the time of the attack, Ross replied, “It was over. It was gone.”
O’Neal and business partner Mark Stevens have denied involvement in statements to investigators, and neither has been charged or named in the criminal complaint.
Attorney Nicholas Tonsich, who represented O’Neal and Stevens, did not immediately responded to a phone message left early Sunday morning by The Associated Press.
According to a sheriff’s report, Ross told investigators he was kidnapped at gunpoint by Main Street Crips gang members in West Hollywood in February 2008 and taken to the home of the gang’s alleged leader Ladell Rowles. He said the gang members beat him, stole $15,000 in cash and some jewelry.
He said another of the defendants, James Harbin, told him he needed to clear up an “issue” with O’Neal and Stevens, and threatened him to give up the melissa king video.
Ross’ testimony is scheduled to continue on July 6.
O’Neal retired this month after 19 seasons, several of them with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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