LAS VEGAS — O.J. Simpson, a former star athlete who once lived for the spotlight, was back on stage telling the grim story of the Las Vegas afternoon in 2007 that sent him to prison.
No longer the glamorous celebrity in an expensive suit, Simpson wore a drab prison uniform during Wednesday’s court appearance. But he ignored the impediments of leg shackles and handcuffs, settled back in the witness chair and talked his heart out for five hours trying to convince a judge he had been wrongly convicted.
When he left the stand, he sighed and appeared relieved. His lawyer, Patricia Palm, said, “He was happy he got to tell what happened.”
Simpson seemed to describe every minute of a weekend that was seared in his memory. It began with plans for a friend’s wedding and ended with him under arrest.
The hearing resumed Thursday with three witnesses expected. The state called a lawyer who has been pursuing Simpson for payment of a civil judgment and planned to also call a psychiatrist to rebut a Simpson witness.
Palm said she would call Malcom LaVergne, a lawyer who handled part of Simpson’s earlier appeal. He was expected to discuss the relationship between the football Hall of Fame star and his Florida lawyer, Yale Galanter.
On Wednesday, Simpson told of meeting LaVergne after he was convicted and feeling the appellate lawyer had a firmer grip on his case than Galanter, who was preparing the appeal.
“I really felt that Malcolm understood it. It was his specialty,” Simpson said. “He seemed somewhat worried about what was going on.” He said he wanted LaVergne to argue his appeal but was unable to overrule Galanter.
In retrospect, he said, he should have questioned Galanter about many things including his fees that exceeded $500,000. Simpson recalled an early bail hearing at which Galanter advised him “O.J., you have to throw yourself on the mercy of the court. You can’t make excuses. You just have to throw yourself on the mercy of the court.”