OJ Simpson appeal to Nevada court due in April

LAS VEGAS (AP) - O.J. Simpson's lawyers have been given until mid-April to file their written Nevada Supreme Court appeal for a new trial for the former football star in his Las Vegas armed robbery case, Simpson attorney Patricia Palm said this week.

A state high court order on Dec. 20 set a 120-day schedule for Simpson's claim that his fame stemming from his 1995 acquittal in Los Angeles in the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend meant he couldn't get a fair trial in Las Vegas, and that his trial lawyer botched his case.

The order voided a Monday deadline for what would have been expedited high court review.

Palm said she and Simpson attorneys Ozzie Fumo and Tom Pitaro were encouraged that the seven-member Supreme Court agreed to accept a 30-page appeal.

The full seven-member court has not decided whether to hear oral arguments.

Simpson, 66, already lost an initial appeal to the state Supreme Court, the only appeals court in Nevada.

He's in the fifth year of a nine-to-33 years prison sentence after a jury found him guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges for leading a group of armed men in a September 2007 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas casino hotel.

One co-defendant who stood trial and was convicted with Simpson and four former co-defendants who pleaded guilty to felonies before trial and testified against Simpson have served prison time and gone free. Simpson won't be eligible for parole until he is 70.

Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell held five days of hearings last May before ruling Nov. 26 that Simpson's trial attorney, Yale Galanter, made errors during Simpson's 2008 trial and his initial appeal to the state Supreme Court.

But the judge called evidence that Simpson orchestrated the heist overwhelming, and said Simpson's current attorneys failed to demonstrate how Galanter's actions changed the outcome of Simpson's case.

Galanter testified before Bell to defend his performance, and said after reading the judge's 101-page decision in November that he did everything in his power to defend Simpson.

Simpson claimed he was trying to retrieve from the memorabilia dealers items that had been stolen from him after his Los Angeles trial and a 1997 civil court a wrongful death judgment put him on the hook for $33.5 million to the estates his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

The NFL hall of famer testified in May that he thought he had a right to get his own belongings back, and he never knew any of the men with him were carrying guns.

___

Find Ken Ritter on Twitter: http://twitter.com/krttr


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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