LAS VEGAS (AP) — The lawyer who defended O.J. Simpson on armed robbery charges delivered a potentially heavy blow to the former football star’s bid for a new trial Friday, testifying that Simpson knew his buddies had guns on them when he went to a hotel room to reclaim some sports memorabilia.
Miami attorney Yale Galanter took the stand in a frequently combative hearing over Simpson’s claim that he was so badly represented by Galanter that his conviction should be thrown out. Point by point, Galanter contradicted much of own former client’s testimony and defended his handling of the case.
Galanter said Simpson confided to him that he had asked two men to bring guns to the hotel room confrontation with two memorabilia dealers in 2007 and “he knew he screwed up.”
The attorney denied giving Simpson the go-ahead to try to retrieve the items, which included photos and signed footballs that Simpson believed had been stolen from him. He said he advised Simpson not to take matters into his own hands.
And Galanter disputed Simpson’s claim that Galanter never told him about plea bargain discussions with prosecutors that could have resulted in a prison sentence of just a few years.
Simpson, 65, was convicted in 2008 of kidnapping and armed robbery over the hotel room episode and was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison. He and his new lawyers, Patricia Palm and Ozzie Fumo, allege Galanter botched the trial. District Judge Linda Marie Bell has not indicated when she will rule on the request for a new trial.
On the stand, Galanter hesitated and spoke only after he paused, breathed deeply and was reminded that Simpson had waived attorney-client privilege.
“I’m very uncomfortable doing this,” Galanter said.
Testifying about events leading up to the hotel room incident, Galanter said he was surprised when Simpson told him over dinner at a Las Vegas hotel that he and several other men were planning a “sting” the next morning to take back items he believed had been stolen from him in Los Angeles.
Lawyer: O.J. Simpson knew about guns