Remember OJ Simpson? The guy who was once a Heisman Trophy-winning running back at the University of Southern California and then the number one pick in the National Football League (NFL) draft in 1969? The guy who was a 6-time Pro-Bowl selection and the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1973? The guy who transitioned from playing football to starring in television commercials, mini-series and movies?
Well, as you know, that guy is long gone from our collective memories. When O.J.’s second wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were murdered in front of Brown Simpson’s home on June 12, 1994, Simpson was charged with their murders and took off on what became a nationally-television Bronco chase throughout Los Angeles.
While Simpson was ultimately acquitted of the crime, Ronald Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, filed a lawsuit against Simpson for the wrongful death of his son. Simpson was found responsible at the civil trial and was ordered to pay over $33 million in damages. The Goldmans have been unable to collect very little of this money because California law protected O.J. Simpson’s NFL pension from being attached to pay the civil judgment against him.
In addition, Simpson relocated from California to Florida because the law in Florida prohibits a person’s home from being attached to satisfy a judgment. Isn’t O.J. Simpson a clever one?
Then in 2007, it all came crashing down. Simpson went to Vegas to attend the wedding of one of his friends and, while there, assembled a group of friends to accompany him to a hotel where he had been told some men were selling some of his sports and personal memorabilia. When they arrived at the hotel room and Simpson saw that his memorabilia was in fact there, he told the men not to leave the room (an action that would later be used against him since it is considered kidnapping) and, after a gun was pulled by one of Simpson’s entourage, the sellers called the police and Simpson was arrested.
Most of the other men with Simpson took plea deals and never served time in jai. But Simpson was sentenced to 9 to 33 years in prison, a term that many believed was compensation for Simpson being acquitted in the murder trial in California.
Now, 6 years later and having spent the last 4 years in jail, O.J. Simpson is back in court with claims that his attorney representing him in the Nevada trial was ineffective and incompetent. Simpson’s new lawyer also claims that his original trial lawyer, Yale Galanter, knew that Simpson was planning to confront the men who he believed had his memorabilia and that the lawyer had advised Simpson that what he was planning was perfectly legal. Simpson also asserts that the lawyer never told him about a plea bargain that had been offered by the prosecutors either.
So far, Galanter’s co-counsel (Gabriel Grasso) has provided damning testimony against Galanter, saying Galanter hadn’t paid him and had refused to employ audio experts to analyze tapes (recorded in the hotel room) that were used by the prosecution in the original trial. At some point during the trial, Galanter is expected to testify and the judge is expected to rule on whether O.J. Simpson is entitled to a new trial. If she doesn’t rule in his favor, Simpson will likely spend at least another 5 years in jail before he’s eligible for parole.
Stay tuned for how this plays out, not only in court but in the court of public opinion.