The lawyer accused of bungling O.J. Simpson’s defense in his armed robbery trial said Friday he told the former American football star to contact police rather than embark on an ill-fated attempt to recover personal memorabilia himself.
Simpson is appealing against his 2008 conviction and imprisonment at a trial in Las Vegas on the grounds that his attorney at the time, Yale Galanter, mishandled his defence.
The 65-year-old, who was infamously acquitted of the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, was sentenced to between nine and 33 years following his 2007 bid to recover a horde of mementoes.
Simpson alleges Galanter knew of his intention to recover personal items — that he was ultimately convicted of trying to steal at gunpoint — from two memorabilia dealers at the Palace Station hotel.
He also claims that Galanter did not tell him about a plea bargain offer that might have resulted in a substantially shorter period behind bars.
However, Galanter on Friday refuted suggestions from Simpson that he had effectively endorsed his client’s plan to try and recover property.
“He told me that he finally had a lead on some personal items, some pictures and memorabilia that had been stolen from his house in California many years before,” Galanter told a hearing in Las Vegas.
Asked what his reaction had been, Galanter said: “I told him to call the police.”
Galanter added that the issue of guns was “never a subject.”
Simpson says he only learned after the incident that guns had been involved.
One of the most famous American football players of his generation during a glittering 1970s career, Simpson was the prime suspect in the 1994 brutal murders of his ex-wife and Goldman.
Brown, who had divorced Simpson in 1992 citing his “abusive behavior,” was attacked so savagely she was almost decapitated.
Simpson, who has always vehemently denied the killings, was acquitted after a racially charged 1995 trial in Los Angeles, in a verdict that was greeted with widespread outrage across America.
He was subsequently found liable for the deaths in a 1997 civil suit and was ordered to pay damages to the victims’ families totaling $33.5 million. He has repeatedly said he will not pay the settlement.
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