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OJ has one hand free in fight for jail release

OJ SIMPSON won a small victory when he returned to court for day two 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.

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.

Simpson managed a smile and a waist-high wave with his shackled hand as he entered the courtroom yesterday and found friends and family members in the audience.

Cuffed

Simpson's lawyers then convinced Clark County Judge Linda Marie Bell to let the former football star have his right hand free. Simpson's left hand was still cuffed to 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.

Galanter's former friend and co-counsel, Gabriel Grasso, returned to the stand yesterday to provide more withering criticism about Galanter's promises and performance during the 2008 trial and conviction and later appeal. Galanter has declined to comment.

Grasso testified that he and Galanter decided to focus their defence on Simpson's insistence that he didn't know any of the men with him the night of the confrontation had guns; that Simpson never saw a gun; and that Simpson only wanted to retrieve property that he believed had been stolen from him.

Simpson became so dependent on his lawyer during his trial that the former football star and actor would have done anything Yale Galanter advised.

"I could advise O.J. all day long," Gabriel Grasso told the court. "But if I advised him of something different from what Yale said, he would do what Yale said."

It was Galanter's decision not to have Simpson testify, Grasso said.

Under questioning from prosecutor H. Leon Simon, Grasso acknowledged the trial judge, Jackie Glass, specifically asked Simpson if he wanted to testify.

"O.J. did say he did not want to testify," said Simon, a chief deputy Clark County district attorney.

hnews@herald.ie


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