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Why O.J. Simpson was so eager to take stand in new trial (+video)

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Simpson’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel “will predictably devolve into a ‘he said, he said,’ conflicting, fact-based narrative by Simpson and his former attorney,” says Professor Pugsley. Simpson's counsel in the robbery case that went to trial in 2008, Yale Galanter, has refused to comment publicly but is scheduled to testify Friday.

Potentially working in Simpson’s favor is a US Supreme Court ruling last session (Missouri v. Frye) that held that the guarantee of “effective assistance of counsel” extends to the consideration and negotiation of pleas – Simpson’s key complaint.

Co-counsel in the 2008 trial, Gabriel Grasso, said on the stand this week that while Mr. Galanter told him he'd talk with Simpson about a proposed plea deal, Galanter never told Mr. Grasso why he rejected it. Grasso said he didn't know if Simpson was even told.

“O.J. might have the good luck to rely on the Supreme Court’s decision last term in Missouri v. Frye. Timing is everything,” says Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Although the decision is to be made by a single judge rather than a jury, the perceived veracity of Simpson is important. How did he do? 

This is the first time Simpson has testified at any of his trials, going back to 1995’s so-called “trial of the century,” in which he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. He was later convicted in a civil trial and ordered to pay more than $35 million to the two families, but again, never testified.

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