Sentencing/Post Conviction

OJ Simpson was 'somewhat intimidated' by his lawyer, witness says in new trial bid

Former football great O.J. Simpson was back in a Las Vegas courtroom Monday in a quest for a new trial based on alleged bad advice by the lawyer who represented him on charges he robbed two sports memorabilia dealers in a casino hotel room.

Simpson wore a blue prison jumpsuit to court and appeared “noticeably grayer and heavier than the last time he appeared in public,” NBC News reports. Simpson contends his former trial lawyer, Yale Galanter, had advised him he could retrieve stolen sports memorabilia as long as he didn’t trespass and didn’t use physical force to take the property, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Associated Press. Simpson also claims Galanter advised him not to testify, an opportunity for Simpson to show there was no criminal intent.

According to Simpson’s current lawyers, Galanter didn’t want to disclose his behind-the-scenes involvement, harming Simpson’s chance to claim ineffective assistance, the AP says.

Simpson also claims Galanter failed to advise him of a potential plea deal, the Review-Journal says. Former District Attorney David Roger told the newspaper that he and Galanter had “vague” discussions about a deal, but the talk ended when Roger sought 30 months and Galanter sought 12 months. “From a legal standpoint, it wasn’t an official offer,” Roger said. Simpson is serving a term of nine to 33 years in prison.

Galanter has declined to comment in advance of his testimony Friday. In testimony Monday, one of Simpson’s friends, businessman Jim Barnett, testified that Galanter was dismissive of Simpson’s concerns, according to the NBC account. Simpson was “somewhat intimidated by Mr. Galanter,” Barnett said. “He was dominated by him. He tended not to question what he told him.”

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