Disgraced former football hero O.J. Simpson is back in the headlines, this time in court seeking a new trial for his 2008 convictions for robbery and kidnapping, for which he’s in the fifth year of nine to 33 year sentence.
The iconic football legend, whose 1995 acquittal in Los Angeles of murdering his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman was a watershed moment for American race relations and jurisprudence, contends that he got poor legal representation from defense lawyer Yale Galanter when he was convicted in 2008 for the gunpoint robbery and kidnapping of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Simpson’s defense was that he was trying to recover property that was rightfully his and he didn’t know the men with him had guns.
Both Simpson, 65, and Galanter are expected to testify in the retrial hearing before Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell, which is expected to last a week.
The testimony during the first day of the hearing focused on the inadequacy of Galanter’s representation, with Galanter’s trial co-counsel, Gabriel Grasso, testifying that Galanter took money for himself, didn’t pay Grasso, and refused to pay for experts to analyze crucial audio recordings that helped convict Simpson.
Grasso said Galanter kept telling him that he didn’t have money to hire investigators or an expert to analyze the audio recordings that were a crucial part of Simpson’s case when they were later played for the jury.
“I don’t think it was in Mr. Simpson’s best interest,” Grasso testified.” In a case of this magnitude, we had no help. The state had a jury consultant. Did we? No.”
A videotape played by Simpson attorney Patricia Palm had Galanter telling the trial judge he wouldn’t oppose the use of the recordings because, “We looked at them. We had experts look at every word. We had maybe six or seven words we objected to.”
But Grasso said there were no experts — and instead, Grasso listened to all of the tapes with a computer program set up by his 15-year-old son, sometimes while watching his son’s soccer games.
Grasso also said Simpson was never given a chance to testify and perhaps was never told about a proposed plea deal that Galanter rejected.
Attorneys said they expect Simpson to take the stand on Wednesday.
Simpson will be 70 before he is eligible for parole.