World News

Wednesday 23 July 2014

OJ mounts new robbery case appeal

Published 23/05/2014|01:42

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OJ Simpson has mounted another appeal against his Las Vegas robbery conviction (AP)

Lawyers for ex-American football star OJ Simpson have appealed to Nevada's supreme court, seeking his release from prison and a new trial in his 2007 armed-robbery case.

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The lawyers met a deadline to submit a request for the court to review Simpson's claim that the 2008 trial in Las Vegas was tainted by his fame and notoriety following his 1995 acquittal in Los Angeles over the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend.

The trial of Simpson, a Hall of Fame player and celebrity TV analyst, was one of the most sensational in recent US history.

The court has not decided whether to hear oral arguments. Simpson's lawyers complicated matters by submitting a document totalling 19,993 words - some 43% longer than the 14,000-word limit the court had set, according to a court spokesman.

It will be up to the seven justices to decide whether to accept it for filing and consideration. Until that time, the document has not been made public.

Simpson, 66, is serving nine to 33 years in a Nevada prison after being found guilty of leading a group of armed men in a September 2007 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas casino hotel.

He was convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges and is not eligible for parole until late 2017.

Simpson claimed he was trying to retrieve from the memorabilia dealers items that had been stolen from him after his Los Angeles trial and a 1997 civil court wrongful-death judgment that left him owing 33.5 million dollars (£19.9m) to the estates of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

The former Buffalo Bills and University of Southern California said he thought he had a right to get his own belongings back and never knew any of the men with him were carrying guns.

The appeal stems from arguments rejected last year by Clark County District Judge Linda Marie Bell that Simpson's trial lawyer botched his trial and first appeal to the state supreme court, which acts as the only appeal court in Nevada.

Simpson lawyer Patricia Palm said the appeal ran long because she and colleagues Ozzie Fumo and Tom Pitaro were responding in detail to the judge's November 26 ruling, which totalled 101 pages.

Ms Palm said the state high court routinely accepts oversized filings in complex cases. She also submitted 36 appendices to the appeal brief.

Judge Bell's ruling came after she held five days of hearings in Las Vegas on a 94-page petition that Ms Palm filed in May 2012 seeking a new trial on 22 possible grounds.

The judge said she reviewed the entire Simpson court record and determined that evidence was overwhelming that Simpson orchestrated the armed kidnapping and robbery and that Simpson's current lawyers failed to demonstrate how his former lawyer's actions changed the outcome of the case.

Clark County district attorney Steve Wolfson said he was confident that Judge Bell's ruling would be upheld. Mr Wolfson's wife, former Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass, presided over Simpson's 2008 trial and sentencing.

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