OJ Simpson is in Las Vegas standing trial after being charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, robbery, assault, and kidnapping with a deadly weapon. As Week No. 2 of testimony is underway, Simpson's Attorney Yale Galanter spoke exclusively with me.
Below are select quotes from the interview. Click here to listen to the full radio interview:
Graham Bensinger: Your initial reaction when you learned what happened.
Yale Galanter: Oh, I was shocked. Absolutely shocked.
Galanter: Well, the whole idea of going to a hotel room and trying to recover your own property is a shocking event, especially when you're such a high profile guy like OJ Simpson. As I started to get into it and learned what occurred, it became a much more plausible event in my mind. If someone keeps telling you your stolen stuff is going to be here, this is the stuff you've been looking for for many many years... All we have to do is go and confront them and they'll give the stuff back... So, I certainly understand what was going through OJ's mind when this occurred.
Bensinger: It seems a key to the trial is whether or not a gun was involved. OJ maintains he walked in unarmed. What do you know about a gun being in the room that day?
Galanter: Tom Riccio has testified on the direct that he didn't believe that OJ knew there was a gun. That's clearly in tape recorded conversations as well as his in courtroom testimony. I think that's very feasible. It was a very small room. It was very crowded. Everybody puts OJ at one place in the room. The one guy that supposedly pulled the gun out for the couple of seconds was well behind him [OJ] and nobody mentions anything about a gun on any of the tapes, no one heard anything about a gun. It's entirely feasible that people in the room would not have known that somebody pulled out a gun.
Bensinger: If the gun is possibly the most damning part of the case, why would prosecutors cut a deal with Michael McClinton who I believe was the one who allegedly had it?
Galanter: Yeah, I mean, that's a really good question. You know, OJ is facing life in prison and Mr. McClinton is going to get a greatly greatly reduced sentence. Clearly, everybody has McClinton as the one who carried the gun, wielded the gun, and was threatening people. Obviously, we're going to ask the jurors about that and we'll extensively cross examine Mr. McClinton on why and how he did what he did.
Bensinger: We've talked about Tom Riccio and we've talked about him in a positive light thus far but it doesn't seem like he's the perfect altar boy either. I mean, he taped this confrontation. Rather than immediately going to the police with the taping, following the cops getting involved, he sold it to the celebrity online gossip site TMZ for $100,000+ dollars. What do you think of that?
Galanter: Oh, I think that's one of the most amazing parts of this case. Not only did he record the event, Graham, he recorded the police doing their investigation of the event. Some of that came out this week. You hear crime scene officers, once they find out OJ is involved, how they want to get him and how they want to do everything they can to get him. Clearly, not only did Mr. Riccio tape the events that transpired at the Palace Station hotel room, but he also recorded the police as they were doing their investigation. You really get some insight as to how the police go about conducting these things.
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