LAS VEGAS — His leg shackles rattling as he shuffled to and from the witness stand, O.J. Simpson made his own case Wednesday for a new trial on armed robbery charges with testimony that he relied on the advice of his trusted attorney when he tried to reclaim mementos from his football glory days.

"It was my stuff. I followed what I thought was the law," the 65-year-old former NFL star and actor said. "My lawyer told me I couldn't break into a guy's room. I didn't break into anybody's room. I didn't try to muscle the guys. The guys had my stuff, even though they claimed they didn't steal it."

Simpson said he took the advice of his longtime former lawyer, Yale Galanter, and didn't testify in his Las Vegas trial at which he was convicted in 2008 of armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges and sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison.

His fall from long-ago fame and fortune was on display as a grayer, bulkier Simpson made his way through the courtroom. The Heisman Trophy college running back and NFL record-setter once made TV commercials running through airports. As Nevada prison inmate No. 1027820, he's been handcuffed and chained at the ankles during a hearing on his claim that he was poorly represented by his attorney during the trial.

His physician, Henry Johnson, watched and said Simpson appeared to be in good health.

H. Leon Simon, attorney for the state, conducted a brief cross-examination that focused on some of the same details Simpson attorney Patricia Palm raised about advice Simpson received from his trial lawyers, Galanter and co-counsel Gabriel Grasso.

"Mr. Galanter advised me not to testify," Simpson reiterated.

"You made a decision to follow Mr. Galanter's advice, rather than Mr. Grasso's, and not testify?" Simon asked.

"Yes," Simpson said.

Simpson did acknowledge that he didn't have a legal right to take some things from the Palace Station hotel room where he and five men confronted two sports memorabilia dealers – including baseballs signed by Pete Rose and Duke Snyder and lithographs of football great Joe Montana. Simpson said he thought those items would be returned later. He said he didn't remember taking a hat from one of the dealers.

Earlier, under detailed questioning by Palm, Simpson seemed to describe every minute of a weekend that began with plans for a friend's wedding and ended with him under arrest.

He said he knew the memorabilia dealers, had no fear of them and certainly didn't need guns.

"There was no talk of guns at all," he said. Simpson declared he never even saw guns during the confrontation.

During the trial, two former co-defendants who testified for the prosecution said they had guns.

Simpson's bid for freedom hinges on showing that Galanter had conflicted interests and gave him bad trial and appellate advice.

Galanter, of Miami, is due to testify Friday. He has declined comment ahead of that appearance.

"He was my guy," Simpson said of his long friendship and professional relationship with Galanter.

He said Galanter told him he was within his legal rights to take back possessions as long as there was no violence or trespassing.

Grasso has said it was Galanter who convinced Simpson not to testify.

While the trial prosecutor testified earlier that there were preliminary discussions with Galanter about a plea bargain, Simpson testified he was never told a bargain was under consideration and that he did not remember any offer being given to him at trial.

Asked by Palm if he knew he could have gotten as little as 30 months in prison if he pleaded guilty to robbery, Simpson said no, and that he would have considered it if he had known.

Simpson also said Galanter led him to believe he could not be convicted on the charges.

"If you understood you could be convicted on the state's evidence, would you have testified?" Palm asked.

Simpson said yes.

Dressed in a drab blue prison uniform, Simpson spoke clearly as he recounted events leading to the hotel room where the dealers had the memorabilia. His voice cracked a bit as he told of recognizing items on the bed, including framed photos that used to hang on the wall of his Los Angeles home.

"Look at this stuff. Some of the stuff I didn't really realize was gone. These were things I hadn't seen in 10 years," he said. "You know, you get a little emotional about it."

There is no jury in the hearing and Simpson's fate will be determined by District Judge Linda Marie Bell. It remained unclear Wednesday whether the judge plans to make an immediate ruling or issue a written order later.

While Simpson's previous court cases were media events, including his 1995 acquittal in the Los Angeles killings of his ex-wife and her friend, there were empty seats in the Las Vegas courtroom for the first two days of the hearing.

But on Wednesday, the courtroom was full, with Simpson family members and friends in the second row. A marshal turned people away, sending them to an overflow room where video was streamed live.

Still, the scene was much tamer than in the past.

"This is less hoopla than I expected. It's real toned down," said Wyatt Skaggs, a retired defense attorney visiting from Laramie, Wyo.

___

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  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson, 1968. (AP)

  • O.J. Simpson

    Southern California's O.J. Simpson displays an engraved silver case, the Maxwell Award, presented to him in Philadelphia, Jan. 20, 1969, when he was honored as college football's outstanding player of 1968.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Southern Cal's O.J. Simpson poses with the Heisman Trophy at New York's Downtown Athletic Club in this Dec. 5, 1968 photo.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Southern California's O.J. Simpson tries to break a California tackle as he picks up five yards in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in this Nov. 9, 1968 file photo. Simpson set the standard for landslide Heisman Trophy victories in 1968.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson, running back for the Buffalo Bills, posed with his first wife, Marguerite, daughter Arnella, 4, and son Jason, 2, in Buffalo, N.Y., on Oct. 10, 1973.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Football greats Joe Namath, left, and O. J. Simpson, right, stand in front of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, one day before their official induction into the sports shrine, on August 2, 1985. (Mark Duncan, AP)

  • O.J. Simpson

    The five enshrines into the Pro Football Hall of Fame pose with their bronze busts in front of the shrine after induction ceremonies Saturday, Aug. 3, 1985 in Canton, Ohio. O.J. Simpson is second from the right.

  • O.J. Simpson

    American athlete O.J. Simpson ran with the Olympic torch as the crowd cheers in dowtown Los Angeles, Calif., on July 21, 1984, one week before the opening ceremonies of the XXIII Summer Olympic Games.

  • O.J. Simpson

    San Francisco 49ers running back O.J. Simpson is escorted from the field by Atlanta Police after ending his career in the NFL on December 16, 1979, at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Ga.

  • O.J. Simpson

    San Francisco 49ers running back O.J. Simpson in 1978. (AP)

  • O.J. Simpson

    Former football star O.J. Simpson and then-friend Nicole Brown get together at party on the night of May 6, 1980, in Beverly Hills. The couple attended the introduction party for the new puzzle branded in America as the "Rubik's Cube."

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson kisses his fiancee, Nicole Brown, at Dodger Stadium during a game against the Cincinnati Reds in August 1980.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson appears at the Pediatric AIDS Foundation "A Time for Heroes 1994" picnic/carnival in Los Angeles on June 5, 1994. (Donna Gilmartin, AP)

  • O.J. Simpson

    Police tape surrounds the Bundy Drive home of Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of former NFL great O.J. Simpson.

  • O.J. Simpson

    An unidentified police investigator walks past blood-stained towels in the entry way to a Los Angeles condominium belonging to Nicole Brown Simpson, 35-year-old ex-wife of former running back O.J. Simpson.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Blood-stained sheets are strewn along the entryway of the Los Angeles-area condominium of Nicole Brown Simpson Sunday, June 12, 1994, the day after she and Ronald Goldman were murdered there late Saturday night.

  • O.J. Simpson

    This is a 1991 California Department of Motor Vehicles photo of Ronald Lyle Goldman, 26, who was found murdered along with Nicole Brown SImpson on June 12, 1994.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Los Angeles Police Department personnel talk to a handcuffed O.J. Simpson at his home in Los Angeles on June 13, 1994. Just after midnight, Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and an unidentified man were found dead outside her Los Angeles home. Simpson's attorney showed up and, after talking to police, they removed the handcuffs before taking Simpson for questioning.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Former pro running back O.J. Simpson hangs his head as he sits in his attorney's car on June 13, 1994, after being questioned by Los Angeles Police into the death of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. The bodies of the 35-year-old woman and her 26-year-old friend Ronald Goldman, apparent stabbing victims, were discovered after midnight June 12 in her Los Angeles-area home.

  • O.J. Simpson

    A white Ford Bronco, driven by Al Cowlings and carrying O.J. Simpson, is trailed by police cars as it travels on a southern California freeway on June 17, 1994. Cowlings and Simpson led authorities on a chase after Simpson was charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson is shown in this file photo with daughter Sydney and son Justin as they arrive at the funeral for his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson on June 16, 1994.

  • O.J. Simpson

    This is the booking mug for O.J. Simpson, taken June 17, 1994, after he surrendered to authorities at his Brentwood estate in Los Angeles. Simpson was charged with two counts of murder in connection with the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Jurors were shown this Polaroid photo, one of two found in Nicole Simpson's safe-deposit box, during testimony on Feb. 6, 1995, in the O.J. Simpson double murder trial. Older sister Denise Brown testified that she took the pictures a few days after a 1989 beating.

  • O.J. Simpson

    In this June 21, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson holds up his hands before the jury after putting on a pair of gloves similar to the infamous bloody gloves during his double-murder trial in Los Angeles.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson wears gloves as he stands with his wife Nicole on the sidelines of Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, during the Thanksgiving Day game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 24, 1993. A prosecutor accused O.J. Simpson of skipping his daily dose of arthritis medicine so his hands would swell, making them too large to fit into gloves linked to murder.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Prosecutor William Hodgman and defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. stand during discussion with Judge Lance Ito at a hearing for O.J. Simpson in Los Angeles on July 29, 1994. Simpson and attorney Robert Shapiro listen.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Former NFL player O.J. Simpson is transferred to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas on Sept. 16, 2007. A prosecutor in Las Vegas said O.J. Simpson "fac[ed] a lot of time" in connection with an alleged armed robbery.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson appears in a Clark County Justice courtroom for his arraignment in Las Vegas on Sept. 19, 2007.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson, center, is flanked by his lawyers Yale Galanter, right, and Gabriel Grasso during his arraignment in a Clark County Justice courtroom for his arraignment in Las Vegas.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson leaves the Clark County Detention Center after he was granted bail in Las Vegas in September 2007.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson appears in court during his trial in Las Vegas in September 2008. Simpson faces 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy.

  • O.J. Simpson

    Room 1203 at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino is seen in Las Vegas. The room is where O.J. Simpson allegedly committed felony kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy related to a Sept. 13, 2007 confrontation with sports memorabilia dealers.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson appears in court during his trial in Las Vegas in September 2008. Simpson faced 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy.

  • O.J. Simpson

    In this 2008 file photo, O.J. Simpson is taken into custody after being found guilty on all 12 charges, including felony kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy.

  • O.J. Simpson

    O.J. Simpson speaks during his sentencing hearing at the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Dec. 5, 2008. Sitting right to Simpson is his lawyer Yale Galanter. Simpson was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison for a hotel armed robbery after a judge rejected his apology and said, "It was much more than stupidity."