A Nevada judge is reopening the armed robbery and kidnapping cases against disgraced football legend O.J. Simpson, agreeing to determine if his lawyers were so incompetent that he deserves to be freed from prison and get a new trial.
Simpson has been behind bars since 2008 after authorities said he led five men in a September 2007 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers and a middleman. Of course, many in the public saw the case as vindication after he was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and a friend, Ron Goldman outside her home in 1994.
Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell agreed to hear more evidence, and to consider 18 of 22 questions from a May appeal. She dismissed four other claims the 65-year-old is making in his demand for freedom, says the Daily Mail.
A key question being asked is if Simpson and his trial lawyer, Yale Galanter, had a conflict of interest. Galanter had personal financial and business interests in Simpson's fortune, the appeal filed by Simpson appeals lawyer Patricia Palm says, with Galanter standing to profit if Simpson stayed behind bars.
1. O.J. Could Take the Witness Stand
Simpson wanted to testify on his own behalf at his trial back in 2008, said Palm.
Galanter advised Simpson that he should not testify because the state could not prove its case, and Galanter prevented Grasso from fully advising Simpson to the contrary.
2. Prosecutor Says Simpson's Rehashing Old News
Simpson trial prosecutor Chris Owens said Simpson and Palm are only rehashing issues that were settled four years ago and upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court.
Palm, though, says her client wants the opportunity to show that Galanter was in Las Vegas and knew that Simpson planned to retrieve his items from the memorabilia dealers. He claimed the items were stolen from him after his acquittal in the murder cases.
3. Galanter Says He Had Nothing to Do With the Case
Galanter, of Miami, represented O.J. in several other cases before the Las Vegas arrest, but he denied he had anything to do with Simpson's attempts to get his memorabilia back.
"Judge, I tell you ... I wasn't there," Galanter said in 2008. "I had nothing to do with it." And Palm says Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass didn't ask any more about it.
4. Galanter Made a Ton of Money
Galanter earned more than $400,000 to defend Simpson in the robbery-kidnapping case and pocketed another $125,000 for the state Supreme Court appeal. Meanwhile, Galanter paid Gabriel Grasso, Simpsons trial lawyer from Las Vegas, $5,000.
5. Grasso Isn't Part of the Case
Palm said Grasso should be left out of allegations of ineffective counsel.
(Grasso) was not made aware of the pre-incident advice, was not privy to private strategy discussions between Galanter and Simpson during trial, and was rebuked when he attempted to give advice without Galanter's approval.
6. Simpson Says Galanter Told Him He Could Do It
The faded football star says Galanter told him the plan to confront the memorabilia dealers was permissible as long as no physical force was used and nobody went on private property.
7. Simpson Claims He Would Have Taken a Deal
Simpson said he wasn't advised the Clark County district attorney offered a plea bargain that would have ended up giving him only two to five years in prison. Palm said Simpson would have taken the deal.
8. Simpson May Be in Stir for Life
The trial judge sentenced Simpson for up to 33 years - effectively a life sentence - for armed robbery. The earliest he can get out if in 2017. In contrast, he was found innocent of killing his ex-wife and her friend, but a civil trial ordered him to pay their families millions, saying he was likely involved in their deaths.
9. The Lawyers Are Suing Each Other
Grasso has a lawsuit in federal court in Nevada against Galanter claiming breach of contract. Meanwhile, Galanter has a pending lawsuit in Miami, accusing Grasso and other attorneys defamed him.
10. O.J. Maintains it Was All a Misunderstanding
Simpson said he came to Las Vegas for a wedding no to reclaim his property, which included sports memorabilia and his first wife's wedding ring.
In no way did I mean to hurt anybody, to steal anything from anyone. I didn't want anybody else's stuff. I just wanted my own. I realize that I was stupid. I am sorry. I didn’t know that I was doing anything illegal. I thought I was retrieving property from friends. I’m sorry, I’m sorry for all of it.