The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 13, 2013

O.J. Simpson's bid for new trial starting in Las Vegas court

— LAS VEGAS (AP) — The last time O.J. Simpson was in a Las Vegas courtroom, he stood next to defense attorney Yale Galanter before being handcuffed and hauled off to prison for up to 33 years.

On Monday, the former football hero returns to Clark County District Court with a different set of lawyers hoping to convince a judge that Galanter shouldn't have been handling his armed robbery-kidnapping case — that the lawyer who was paid nearly $700,000 for Simpson's defense had a personal interest in preventing himself from being identified as a witness to the crimes and so misled Simpson that the former football star deserves a new trial.

"To me, the claims are solid. I don't know how the court can't grant relief," said Patricia Palm, the Simpson appeals lawyer who produced a 94-page petition dissecting Galanter's promises, payments and performance as Simpson's lawyer in the trial that ended with a jury finding Simpson and a co-defendant guilty of 12 felonies.

Galanter declined to comment ahead of his is scheduled testimony.

Of the 22 allegations of conflict-of-interest and ineffective counsel that Palm raised, Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell has agreed to hear 19.

The five-day proceedings are technically neither a trial nor appeal. There won't be any opening statements. The judge will listen to testimony before deciding whether Simpson deserves a new trial. It's not clear whether Bell will rule immediately.

Simpson now says that Galanter knew ahead of time about his plan to retrieve what he thought were personal mementoes and met with Simpson in Las Vegas to discuss the plan the night before Simpson and five other men confronted two sports memorabilia dealers and a middleman in a cramped casino hotel room in September 2007.

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