O.J. Simpson testifies in bid for new trial
(CNN) — In a blue prison jumpsuit, O.J. Simpson took the witness stand Wednesday in his effort to get a new trial on robbery, assault and kidnapping charges from 2007.
A deputy escorted him to the stand and unlocked the manacles on his hands. The former NFL player was heavier and had more gray hair than when he gained notoriety in the early 1990s in his trial on charges of murdering his ex-wife and her friend. A jury acquitted him.
In the Las Vegas courtroom, Simpson recounted his working relationship with his former attorney, Yale Galanter, who represented him in the original case.
The 65-year-old former football star was convicted of leading a group of associates into a room at the Palace Station hotel and casino and using threats, guns and force to take back items from the two dealers in 2007.
Simpson said he trusted Galanter and that his attorney was aware of personal items that Simpson was trying to recover from the sports memorabilia dealers. Simpson wanted to give those personal items to his children someday.
“The overall advice that he gave me is that you have a right to get your stuff. He gave me an example that if you’re walking the street and you see your laptop in a car, you can use force to break the window of the car,” Simpson told the court.
Simpson testified that Galanter advised him that he could demand his property back from the dealers, and if they refused to return it, he could use some force, but could not trespass.
Simpson didn’t tell his attorney, however, that he planned to use a weapon.
He also accused Galanter of having a conflict of interest and of failing to mount an effective defense.
“Yale had a relationship with the media and he would go on various shows to refute the tabloid stories,” Simpson said. “He had a good relationship with the media and consequently I was in the media a lot and that gave him an opportunity to go on TV.”
In documents filed requesting the new trial, he also argued that Galanter prevented him from testifying on his own behalf, leaving nothing to challenge evidence put forward by prosecutors of criminal intent and other issues.
Because Simpson didn’t testify in the 2008 trial, he now “wants to tell his story,” attorney Osmaldo Fumo said Tuesday, the second day of the hearing.
Simpson is serving a 33-year prison term.
The Nevada Supreme Court upheld his conviction in 2010. Prosecutors say there is no evidence of conflict of interest and Simpson’s claims are “without merit.”
Simpson, who played in the NFL from 1969 to 1979, was acquitted in a criminal trial in the 1994 deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. A civil jury later slapped him with a $33 million wrongful-death judgment.
He is eligible for parole in the 2007 case in 2017.
CNN’s Ted Rowlands and Matt Smith contributed to this report.
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