LAS VEGAS—After four years in prison, O.J. Simpson appeared in court on Wednesday, May 15, to ask for a retrial for his freedom.
Simpson, a former football player and actor, was arrested and sentenced to up to 33 years in state prison after he was convicted of stealing sports memorabilia in a Las Vegas hotel room in September 2007. Simpson, along with several other men, went to the Palace Station hotel in Las Vegas where he allegedly stole a number of sports memorabilia items.
According to Simpson, 65, he had gone to the hotel room to get his own memorabilia, including his signed footballs and family photographs that he was told by a memorabilia dealer, Bruce Fromong, were going to be sold. According to Simpson, his lawyer had told him this was legal as long as he wasn’t trespassing or using any force to retrieve his things.
In the 2008 trial, Fromong claimed that the men broke into his hotel room and held him at gunpoint before proceeding to steal the memorabilia. Simpson denied the forceful entry as well as the weapon and claimed the items had been stolen from him and he had gone to retrieve them.
An audiotape surfaced following the incident where Simpson is heard shouting orders to the other men with him. Simpson and one of his accomplices, Clarence Stewart, were convicted of ten charges, including conspiracy to commit a crime and burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon. Following his former lawyer’s advice, Simpson did not testify back in 2008 and was sentenced to 9 to 33 years in state prison.
Four years after his initial trial, Simpson appeared in court once again to plead for his release. According to sources, Simpson appeared calm in court on Wednesday. Onlookers claimed he was “joking around” and more laid back than they had seen him before, “even with one hand shackled to his waist.”
The prosecution questioned Simpson on whether or not he had been drinking that night, as this had been a fundamental point in the original trial back in 2008. Simpson claimed that although he had a couple of drinks earlier that day, he hadn’t been intoxicated when he arrived at the hotel room to retrieve what he said were his belongings.
During the testimony, Simpson claimed he had not seen any guns, nor had the idea of carrying any weapons crossed his mind as he knew the memorabilia dealers and felt no need to carry a weapon with him.
Simpson did admit that he had no right to take some of the memorabilia that he did from the hotel room, but had claimed they would be returned later.
Simpson’s retrial comes in light of his claims that his former lawyer, Yale Galanter, had given him bad advice during the initial 2008 arrests and that there appeared to be a conflict of interest. Simpson also made claims that he was not told of any plea bargain that would have granted him only 30 months in prison had he pleaded guilty to the robbery.
Simpson reportedly said he would have pleaded guilty had he known, but maintained that he had not been given this information by his lawyer. He also said his lawyer had actually told him he could not be convicted of any of the charges.
The trial will have no jury and the final decision will be made by District Judge Linda Marie Bell. The judge may make an immediate ruling or offer a written order. It is still unclear what Simpson’s fate will be regarding his retrial.
The trial is being far less publicized and scrutinized in comparison to Simpson’s previous trial. Simpson is infamously known for his legal battles against those who accuse him of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman, back in June 1994. It has been named the most publicized trial in U.S. history. Simpson was acquitted of the charges and maintains his innocence.
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