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Tuesday, September 25, 2007, 01:15 pm PT (04:15 pm ET)

Inmate's suit claims O.J. Simpson is "hitman" for Steve Jobs

A South Carolina inmate notorious for filing frivolous and fanciful lawsuits against public figures has used his latest complaint to accuse Apple chief executive Steve Jobs of employing O.J. Simpson as a "hitman" for the past two decades, in addition to a litany of other outlandish offenses.

Filed September 21 in the United States District Court Middle District of Florida, the 3-page handwritten complaint alleges that Simpson has been Jobs’s "hitman" since the "1985 MOVE house bombing in Philadelphia, which Jobs started with borrowed pyrotechnics from Great White."

The plaintiff is none other than 30 year old Jonathan Lee Riches, who in 2004 earned himself an 8-year sentence in a South Carolina corrections facility for his involvement in an identity theft ring. Over the past 18 months he has filed dozens of similar lawsuits accusing celebrities and organizations of wildly improbable offenses, presumably to help pass his time behind bars. 

Riches' latest rambling, which has since been dismissed, goes on to allege that "O.J. has been providing Jobs with food blenders since the midwest flood of 1993" and that O.J. also "paid Jobs to clone Dolly the sheep on April 20, 1998." 

As for his other roles in the legal escapade, Jobs is charged with aiming nuclear missiles at Riches' brain and Lance Armstrong's bicycle, as well as price gouging iPhone customers. "On May 10th, 2007, I bought an Apple iPhone for $922.01 at the FCI Williamsburg commissary," Riches wrote. "Now Jobs sells that same iPod for $199."

The remainder of the complaint continues in the same outlandish vein, with Princess Diana, the United Auto Workers, and Cinderella's Castle each making appearances, among others.

"A cursory review of the complaint is sufficient to establish that it is nothing more than fanciful nonsense," US District Judge Gregory Presnell wrote in his order for dismissal. "The whole thing reads like a cross between Billy Joel’s 'We Didn’t Start the Fire' and a Dr. Bronner’s soap label, if Dr. Bronner had been a first-year law student with untreated paranoid schizophrenia."

Judge Presnell went on to say that this was not Riches's first appearance before him, and pointed out that Riches even has his own Wikipedia entry chronicling some of the dozens of similar suits he has filed in federal courts across the country. 

"Several weeks ago, he filed suit against Elvis Presley and Neverland Ranch for, inter alia, 'WAR CRIMES Rock N Rollin My Brain'," the Judge wrote. 

While it's unclear whether Riches' cockamamy pleadings are products of actual mental illness or simply a hobby akin to short story writing, all complaints filed with the US court system have to be processed, filed and dismissed. 

"Whatever their origin, and though they are amusing to the average reader, they do nothing more than clog the machinery of justice, interfering with the court’s ability to address the needs of the genuinely aggrieved," the Judge wrote. "It is time for them to stop."

Rather than impose sanctions on Riches, the Court will simply require that he pay the filing fee with any future complaints, which he has failed to do in the past. Should those requirement fail to dissuade him from further meritless filings, the Court plans to impose stiffer requirements or sanctions until he "finds another way to occupy his time."

For those interested, Riches's 3-page handwritten complaint can be seen in its entirety on the following page.