OJ's Robbery conviction 'payback for murder acquittal', claims lawyer

Former American football star OJ Simpson's conviction for a gunpoint hotel room robbery amounted to prejudicial "payback" for his 1994 double-murder acquittal, his lawyer told Nevada Supreme Court judges.

Former American football star OJ Simpson's conviction for a gunpoint hotel room robbery amounted to prejudicial "payback" for his 1994 double-murder acquittal, his lawyer told Nevada Supreme Court judges.

Yale Galanter asked the court panel to overturn Simpson's conviction and grant a new trial in the September 2007 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas.

"This was not a search for truth but became a search for redemption," he said.

Questions from Justices Mark Gibbons, Michael Cherry and Nancy Saitta focused on the racial make-up of the jury and the conduct of the trial judge, who Mr Galanter accused of preventing him from presenting the jury with Simpson's theory of defence.

A ruling by the court is not expected until later this year.

"Mr Simpson really believed he was recovering his own property," Mr Galanter said. "Our theory of defence was never put before the jury."

Minutes later, the justices posed pointed questions about whether convicted co-defendant Clarence "CJ" Stewart received a fair trial alongside Simpson.

Both men were convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery, conspiracy and other crimes for what Simpson maintained was an attempt to retrieve family photos and mementoes.

Four other men took plea deals and received probation after testifying for the prosecution.

Stewart's lawyer Brent Bryson cited a 2001 poll that found 72% of the American public believed that OJ Simpson was wrongly acquitted in the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, in Los Angeles.

Neither Simpson nor Stewart were in court for the crucial oral appeals. Their lawyers previously lost a bid for the same three justices to let them out of prison until their appeals were settled.

Simpson, a National Football League hall-of-famer, actor and advertising pitchman who is 63 next month, is serving nine to 33 years at a state prison in the northern Nevada town of Lovelock.

Stewart, 56, a former Simpson golfing friend from North Las Vegas, is serving seven and a half to 27 years at High Desert State Prison north west of Las Vegas.

Clark County District Attorney David Roger called the September 2008 trial contentious but fair, and the sentences just. He urged the justices to deny both appeals.

Justices questioned Mr Roger, Mr Galanter and Mr Bryson about the dismissal of the last two black women from the prospective jury panel before a jury was seated. The final panel had no black jurors. Both Simpson and Stewart are black men.

Mr Roger said race was not a factor. Both women said they had negative experiences dealing with prosecutors and police that could have made them biased against the state, he said.

They also claimed hardships and religious beliefs that would have made jury service difficult.

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