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O.J. Simpson's ex-lawyer defends his work

LAS VEGAS -- O.J. Simpson's former lawyer defended himself point-by-point yesterday against allegations he botched the former football star's armed-robbery trial, and he testified Simpson actually knew his buddies had guns when they went to a hotel room together to reclaim some sports memorabilia.

Yale Galanter took the stand at an often combative hearing on Simpson's claim that his conviction should be thrown out on the grounds that his attorney did a poor job representing him.

Galanter 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. He said his client agreed all along with the decision not to put him on the stand.

Simpson, 65, was found guilty in 2008 of kidnapping and armed robbery over the hotel room episode and was sentenced to 9 to 33 years in prison. The conviction came 13 years after he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and a friend of hers.

When the hearing concluded late yesterday afternoon, Clark County District Judge Linda Marie Bell told attorneys she will issue her decision on the bid for a retrial at a later time.

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 hotel room in 2007, and "he knew he screwed up." On the stand, Galanter brought up the guns only after he paused and was reminded that Simpson had waived attorney-client privilege. "I'm very uncomfortable doing this," he said.

After the lawyer delivered the blow, Simpson didn't move, looking straight ahead at his former counsel and confidant.

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