independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Simpson poised to give evidence

Simpson consults with one of his lawyers in court (AP)

More than four years after the world last heard from disgraced ex-sports star O.J. Simpson in court, one of the United States' most famous prisoners is preparing to speak again in a bid to win freedom from a sentence that could keep him behind bars until he dies.

In 2008, Simpson was near tears as he told a judge: "I didn't mean to steal anything from anybody ... I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of it." This time he will get to say much morey about a strange Las Vegas hotel room confrontation that sent him to prison.

There is no jury and his fate will be determined by Clark County District Judge Linda Marie Bell.

"He's been wanting to tell his story. He's excited about telling his story," said his lawyer Ozzie Fumo.

When he went to trial in 2008 on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping, Simpson did not give evidence - a decision that one of his lawyers said was pushed upon him by another he trusted so completely that he took his bad advice.

Simpson, 65, is appearing midway through a five-day hearing. He is serving nine to 33 years in prison for his conviction on armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges in a 2007 gunpoint confrontation. Simpson has said, and is likely to repeat, that he never saw any guns.

This is Simpson's last chance under state law to prove that he was wrongly convicted. A federal court appeal is still possible.

But Simpson has aged rapidly and his changed appearance - heavy, greying and shuffling under the weight of shackles - has shocked friends and relatives who travelled to Las Vegas to see him.

Press Association

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