Football legend O.J. Simpson testified Wednesday in a hearing on his attempt to force a new trial on his armed robbery and kidnapping convictions, claiming that his former attorney Yale Galanter botched his original case.
Simpson, who was convicted in 2008 on armed robbery and kidnapping charges for joining a group of men in seizing some of his own sports memorabilia at gunpoint at the Palace Station casino in Las Vegas, said that “there was no talk of guns at all” when he and his alleged co-conspirators were planning the confrontation, and that Galanter erred in preventing him from testifying at his 2008 trial.
Simpson, who won the Heisman Trophy as a running back at the University of Southern California, rushed for 2,000 yards in a single 14-game season for the Buffalo Bills, and enjoyed a thriving career as a sportscaster and actor in films including Capricorn 1 and the Naked Gun series, is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada for his crimes.
Simpson’s time in prison has been rough. He was reportedly attacked by white supremacists in a prison riot but saved by his loyal contingent of homosexual bodyguards, known as “The Girls,” according to the National Enquirer.
Simpson has long been a controversial figure in American popular culture.
Simpson stood trial for the 1994 stabbing murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her lover, Los Angeles waiter Ron Goldman. Simpson’s “Dream Team” of attorneys included the late Johnnie Cochran, who pointed out the racial implications of the case to the predominately black jury; Barry Scheck, who famously grilled LAPD criminologist Dennis Fung on the disappearance of a key blood stain with his “Where is it, Mr. Fung?” line of questioning; and the late Robert Kardashian, who reactivated his law license in order to join Simpson’s team after he was spotted carrying a black garment bag that may have contained DNA evidence.
Simpson withstood the cunning legal strategy of prosecutor Marcia Clark, who gained sympathy with female television viewers for adamantly declaring that she needed to leave court one day to take care of her children, as well as testimony from prosecution witness Kato Kaelin, a Simpson houseguest who claimed he heard thumps against a wall on the night of the murders. Kaelin was declared a hostile witness, and later posed for the cover of “Playgirl.”
Ultimately, jurors decided the defense’s argument — that the murders of Brown Simpson and Goldman could have been carried out by cocaine dealers possibly operating in coordination with the mafia out of Mezzaluna, the Brentwood restaurant where Goldman worked as a waiter — presented reasonable doubt in the case. Simpson was acquitted of the murders.
Simpson subsequently lost a $33.5 million civil judgment in 1997 in a wrongful death case brought by Goldman family members, including Goldman’s moustachioed father Fred Goldman. Though Simpson has paid little to none of the money he owes the Goldmans, his dire financial straits likely prevented him from assembling another legal “Dream Team” in his 2008 Nevada trial.