Simpson to have 1 hand free during Vegas hearing
Las Vegas • O.J. Simpson won a small victory on Tuesday when he returned to court for Day 2 of his attempt to win a new trial in his robbery case, when a judge said he could have one hand unshackled to drink water and take notes.
Simpson managed a smile and a waist-high wave with his shackled hand as he entered the courtroom and found friends and family members in the audience.
Simpson's lawyers then convinced Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell to let the former football star and TV pitchman have his right hand free. Simpson's left hand was still cuffed to the arm of his chair.
Lawyers for Simpson are claiming that his trial lawyer, Yale Galanter, gave such bad trial advice and had such conflicted interests that Simpson deserves a new trial.
The 65-year-old Simpson is serving nine to 33 years in prison for leading five men in the armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007.
"He looks like a beaten man," said Thomas Scotto, 51, a close Simpson friend in the audience whose wedding was the reason for Simpson's fateful trip to Las Vegas.
Since then, Scotto's marriage has collapsed and he underwent three emergency surgeries for life-threatening intestinal ailments.
"You don't think about it, but this has taken a toll on a lot of people," Scotto said.
Galanter's former friend and co-counsel, Gabriel Grasso, returned to the stand on Tuesday to provide more withering criticism about Galanter's promises and performance during the 2008 trial and conviction and later appeal.
Grasso testified on Monday that Galanter took money for himself, didn't pay him and refused to pay for experts to analyze crucial audio recordings that helped convict Simpson.