LAS VEGAS (AP) - O.J. Simpson's former lawyer's work is expected to again draw withering criticism Tuesday in a Las Vegas courtroom where the imprisoned former football star and his new attorneys are trying to convince a Nevada judge that Simpson deserves a new trial.
The 65-year-old Simpson arrived in court Monday in shackles and prison clothing - grayer and heavier than when he was hauled off to prison in 2008 to serve a minimum nine-year sentence. But he briefly flashed a smile for family members and friends in the second row. The focus on the first day of the five-day hearing was on promises and performance by Simpson's Miami-based lawyer Yale Galanter during the 2008 trial and conviction that got Simpson nine to 33 years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping for a hotel room confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers.
Galanter's trial co-counsel, Gabriel Grasso, testified that Galanter took money for himself, didn't pay Grasso, and refused to pay for experts to analyze crucial audio recordings that helped convict Simpson.
"Hey Gabe. Wanna be famous?" Grasso recalled Galanter asking as the two embarked on a relationship that has since deteriorated into lawsuits over a handshake agreement represent Simpson and split an expected $750,000 in legal fees one-third for Grasso and two-thirds for Galanter.
Grasso said he was only paid $15,000 while the weight of pretrial work fell to him. He said Galanter kept telling him that he didn't have money to hire investigators or an expert to analyze crucial audio recordings that were later played for the Simpson jury.
"I don't think it was in Mr. Simpson's best interest," Grasso testified." In a case of this magnitude, we had no help. The state had a jury consultant. Did we? No."
Galanter is expected to take the witness stand on Friday. He declined comment Monday. Attorneys for the state, H. Leon Simon and Leah Beverly, are expected to cross-examine Grasso on Tuesday. Simpson attorney Patricia Palm played a videotape of Galanter telling the trial judge he wouldn't oppose the use of the recordings because, "We looked at them. We had experts look at every word. We had maybe six or seven words we objected to."
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