LAS VEGAS - The lawyer who defended O.J. Simpson on armed robbery charges delivered a potentially heavy blow to the former football star's bid for a new trial Friday, testifying that Simpson knew his buddies had guns when they went to a hotel room together to reclaim some sports memorabilia.
Miami lawyer Yale Galanter took the stand at an often combative hearing on Simpson's claim that he was so badly represented by his attorney that his conviction should be thrown out.
Point by point, Galanter contradicted much of his former client's testimony and strongly defended himself.
He denied giving Simpson the go-ahead to retrieve the photos and footballs he believed had been stolen from him.
He denied keeping Simpson in the dark about plea-bargain offers that carried only a few years in prison. And he disputed Simpson's claim that the former athlete had no idea anyone in the hotel room had guns.
"When you look at the entire trial, I don't think I could have fought harder, done more," Galanter said of his handling of the case. "I put every ounce of blood, sweat and soul into it."
At another point, he said: "Simpson brought a lot of baggage into the courtroom. It's not like the 12 jurors didn't know he was accused of murder and acquitted."
Simpson, 65, was found guilty in 2008 of kidnapping and armed robbery over the hotel room episode and was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison.
The conviction came 13 years after the sensational trial where he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and a friend of hers.
District Judge Linda Marie Bell has not indicated when she will rule on the request for a new trial.
Freed from the usual attorney-client confidentiality rules, Galanter testified that Simpson confided to him that he had asked two men to bring guns to the Las Vegas hotel room in 2007, and "he knew he screwed up."