Las Vegas judge Linda Marie Bell denied a request from O.J. Simpson for a new trial on Tuesday, ruining the once legendary NFL star’s most recent grasp for freedom. Simpson had claimed that his previous attorney had botched his defense when he was on trial for kidnapping and armed robbery a little over five years ago. The Clark County District Judge said the grounds listed by Simpson in his request were without merit.
Ozzie Fumo, one of Simpson’s lawyers in the request for a new trial, said that an appeal to the Supreme Court of Nevada was likely in the future..
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said that O.J. Simpson had indeed received a free trial in 2008 and had very competent attorneys representing him. Wolfson’s wife was the presiding judge in the 2008 trial.
If the Nevada Supreme Court rejects his appeal, the 66- year old Simpson could take his appeal to the federal court systems if he so chooses.
Simpson was found guilty in 2008 of armed robbery and kidnapping, among other charges in what he steadfastly claimed was an effort to gain back mementos and personal items from two dealers of sport collectibles. The crime took place in a casino hotel room.
Simpson had a small victory this past July when state parole commissioners agreed to award him parole on five sentences that were running concurrently. Unfortunately, this did not free Simpson because he is still facing a minimum of four years for related convictions.
The conviction for the Las Vegas crimes came 13 years to the day after he was acquitted in Los Angeles in the stabbing deaths of Ronald Goldman and Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. Six years later, a Miami jury would acquit him of all charges in a road rage case in Florida. The same attorney in the Florida case, Yale Galanter, was the attorney in the 2008 trial as well.
In her written rejection to granting a new trial, Bell noted the seriousness behind the offenses for which O.J. Simpson was convicted. She also noted the fact that six co-conspirators were involved and that much planning in advance had taken place before the crime. She reminded that two of the co-conspirators had been asked by Simpson to bring weapons to show their victims they “meant business”.
Simpson’s new team of attorneys later said that they felt they had presented compelling evidence that Galanter had known in advance of Simpson’s plot to commit the crime. Based on this, the legal team said that Galanter had conflicted interests that affected the way Simpson’s case was handled. As a result, they claimed Simpson didn’t get a fair hearing. According to the current legal team, Galanter had told Simpson that it was acceptable to try and take back his memorabilia and therefore, should have agreed to step down as attorney and instead be a witness for Simpson’s defense.
Simpson spent a full day reminiscing on how he believes, in retrospect, that Galanter misled him.
Simpson said he had dinner with Galanter the night before his crime committed in September of 2007 and that the attorney had told him he had a legal right to take back personal items but to be sure no trespassing or violent force took place.
Two days later, Galanter would contradict O.J. Simpson’s story in a dramatic fashion. According to him, he was surprised when Simpson had told him of his plan to take back his personal mementos. He further denied giving Simpson approval to put the plan in action. Instead, Galanter said he advised Simpson to call the police if he indeed felt he had a legal right to those items.
Galanter also said that Simpson later told him that he was aware that some of the men with him on night the robbery took place had guns.
To this day, Simpson claims that he never asked anyone to bring weapons.
As mentioned earlier, there are still opportunities for a new trial if O.J. Simpson chooses to take it. However, this most recent request has been denied.
By Rick Hope