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O.J. Simpson to testify in bid for new trial

SportsFootballJustice SystemCrime, Law and JusticeO.J. SimpsonSheldon AdelsonHeisman Trophy

LAS VEGAS — O.J. Simpson is expected to take the stand Wednesday as he seeks a new trial on his 2008 convictions for robbery and kidnapping, which sent him to prison for up to 33 years.

For two consecutive days, the fallen Hall of Fame running back  and Heisman Trophy winner from USC has sat shackled to his seat as witnesses testified about events leading up to the night in 2007 when he and several friends stormed into a $39-a-night hotel room here demanding the return of sports memorabilia Simpson insisted had been stolen from him.

Defense lawyers argued that he was merely trying to recover property that was rightfully his. Simpson has said he didn’t know that the five men who accompanied him to the Palace Station hotel had guns. But he was convicted in the gunpoint robbery and kidnapping of two sports memorabilia dealers.

Simpson, now 65, hopes that Clark County District Judge Linda Marie Bell will void his convictions and grant him a second chance in court. The hearing is expected to last a week.

Simpson’s lawyers say the former NFL star’s attorney in the first trial, Miami-based Yale Galanter, offered shoddy legal counsel that led to the conviction. Sentenced to nine to 33 years behind bars, Simpson will be 70 before he is eligible for parole. 

Simpson lawyer Ozzie Fumo said in court Tuesday that his client would probably be the first witness when the proceedings resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Simpson’s high-profile trial over the hotel room break-in was not nearly as sensational as his first collision with the justice system. In 1995, he was acquitted in Los Angeles of murdering his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. In a subsequent civil trial, Simpson was found liable for civil damages of $33.5 million.

john.glionna@latimes.com

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