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O.J. Simpson seeks new robbery-kidnap trial

LAS VEGAS -- The shackles and blue prison garb seemed to weigh down O.J. Simpson as he returned to a Las Vegas courtroom yesterday 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 in the audience.

A marshal had warned onlookers not to try to communicate with Simpson, and no words were exchanged.

Still, a friend saw a flash of the old, magnetic Simpson personality.

"Not much muscle tone," observed Sherman White, a former NFL defensive lineman and friend since they played for the Buffalo Bills. "But you saw a little of the O.J. pizazz when he came in."

Simpson conferred with his lawyers and listened to testimony from daughter Arnelle Simpson and other witnesses. More than four years into a minimum nine-year prison term, he will be in court all week to claim 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 Monday with the fancy clothing he wore during his acquittal in his historic, high-profile 1995 murder trial in Los Angeles. The suit he wore then is part of the Newseum collection in Washington, D.C.

Simpson hopes a new set of lawyers can convince a judge that lawyer Yale Galanter, who represented him, had conflicted interests.

In a sworn statement, Simpson said Galanter knew ahead of time about his plan to retrieve what he thought were personal mementos from the memorabilia dealers. He also said Galanter never told him a plea deal was on the table.

Galanter was paid nearly $700,000 for Simpson's defense but had a personal interest in preventing himself from being identified as a witness and misled Simpson so much that he deserves a new trial, Simpson attorneys said.

Galanter, set to testify Friday, has declined to comment.

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