O.J. returns to Las Vegas court in bid for new trial


LAS VEGAS — A weary-looking O.J. Simpson, weighed down by shackles and more than four years in prison, shuffled into a Las Vegas courtroom Monday hoping to eventually walk out a free man.

His arrival to ask for a new trial in the armed robbery-kidnapping case that sent him to prison could be heard before he was seen — as a loud rattling of the chains that bound his hands to his waist and restrained his feet.

After the 65-year-old Simpson was seated, a guard removed his handcuffs and clicked them onto the chair arms next to him.

The once glamorous football star and TV pitchman was subdued in his dingy blue prison uniform. Grayer and heavier, he briefly flashed a smile and mouthed a greeting to people he recognized before being stopped by a bailiff.

Simpson listened intently as his lawyers tried to make the case that he had poor legal representation in the trial involving the gunpoint robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in 2007 in a Las Vegas hotel room. Of the 22 allegations of conflict-of-interest and ineffective counsel his lawyers raised, Clark County District Judge Linda Marie Bell has agreed to hear 19.

Simpson has said his former attorney, Yale Galanter, had rejected appropriate defense moves and even met with Simpson the night before the heist to bless the plan as long as no one trespassed and no force was used.

Galanter was paid nearly $700,000 for Simpson’s defense but had a personal interest in preventing himself from being identified as a witness to the crimes and misled Simpson so much that he deserves a new trial, lawyers for Simpson claim.

Simpson is expected to testify Wednesday and say Galanter advised him that he was within his rights to retrieve family pictures and footballs being peddled by memorabilia dealers.

Galanter has declined to comment before his scheduled court appearance Friday. Meanwhile, two of the other lawyers involved in the trial portrayed Galanter as self-interested, money grabbing and unconcerned for Simpson’s welfare.

Galanter’s co-counsel and longtime friend, Gabriel Grasso, offered a searing critique, saying he took money for himself, didn’t pay Grasso and refused to pay for experts to analyze crucial audio recordings from the hotel room that helped send Simpson to prison in 2008 for up to 33 years.