LAS VEGAS - The shackles and blue prison garb seemed to weigh down O.J. Simpson as he returned to a Las Vegas courtroom on Monday to ask for a new trial in the armed robbery-kidnapping case that sent him to prison in 2008.
Looking grayer and heavier, the 65-year-old former football star and TV pitchman was flanked by guards as he nodded and raised his eyebrows to acknowledge people he recognized in the audience.
A marshal had warned onlookers not to try to communicate with Simpson, and no words were exchanged.
Still, a close friend saw a flash of the old, magnetic Simpson personality.
"Not much muscle tone," observed Sherman White, a former NFL defensive lineman, teammate and friend of Simpson since they both played for the Buffalo Bills. "But you saw a little of the O.J. pizzazz when he came in."
Simpson later conferred with his lawyers and listened intently to testimony from his daughter Arnelle Simpson and other witnesses.
Simpson, more than four years into a minimum nine-year prison term, will be in court all week to claim that he had poor legal representation in the trial involving the gunpoint robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in 2007 in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Simpson's drab appearance contrasted with the fancy clothing he wore during his acquittal in his historic, high-profile 1995 murder trial in Los Angeles.
The courtroom on Monday was partly empty, and an overflow room with closed-circuit hookups wasn't needed.
Simpson hopes a new set of lawyers can convince a judge that lawyer Yale Galanter, who represented him in the robbery case, had conflicted interests.
In a sworn statement outlining what he intends to say on the stand, Simpson said Galanter knew ahead of time about his plan to retrieve what he thought were personal mementos from the memorabilia dealers in a casino hotel room.
Simpson also said Galanter never told him a plea deal was on the table.