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May 14, 2013

O.J. returns to Las Vegas court in bid for new trial

LAS VEGAS — A weary-looking O.J. Simpson weighed down by shackles and four years in prison shuffled into a Las Vegas courtroom Monday hoping to eventually walk out a free man.

His arrival in court to ask for a new trial in the armed robbery case that sent him to prison in 2008 could be heard before he was seen — as a loud rattling of the chains that bound his hands to his waist and kept his feet together.

His lawyers had argued to forego the restraints but were overruled. After the 65-year-old Simpson was seated, a guard removed his handcuffs and clicked them onto the chair arms next to him.

The once glamorous sports hero, who is more than four years into a minimum nine-year prison sentence, was subdued as the hearing began. Grayer and heavier, he flashed a smile and tried to mouth a greeting to people he recognized before being stopped by a bailiff who had cautioned against any communications.

Wearing a dingy blue prison uniform, Simpson listened intently to testimony presented as his lawyers contend he had poor legal representation in the trial involving the gunpoint robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in 2007 in a Las Vegas hotel room.

The attorney, Yale Galanter, had rejected appropriate defense moves and even met with Simpson the night before the disastrous heist to bless the plan as long as no one trespassed and no force was used, Simpson has said.

Galanter was paid nearly $700,000 for Simpson’s defense but had a personal interest in preventing himself from being identified as a witness to the crimes and misled Simpson so much that he deserves a new trial, lawyers for Simpson claim.

Simpson is scheduled to testify on Wednesday and say Galanter advised him he was within his rights to retrieve the items.

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