LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Las Vegas lawyer who represented O.J. Simpson in the Nevada trial that led to the celebrity football star's conviction on armed robbery and kidnapping charges is suing Simpson's Florida-based lead attorney in the case, claiming he was stiffed on promised fees.
Gabriel Grasso alleges in a civil breach of contract lawsuit that he was promised $250,000 to serve as local attorney following Simpson's arrest in September 2007. But he said Yale Galanter only paid him $15,000.
Galanter told The Associated Press that he hadn't been served with the lawsuit and couldn't comment on it. But he said he intends to fight.
"You can say anything you want in a lawsuit. Proving it is another matter," Galanter said Tuesday. "Gabe Grasso got paid everything he was supposed to get paid commensurate with his skill level, his ability level and his responsibilities as local counsel in Las Vegas."
The 17-page lawsuit, filed Friday filed in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, seeks unspecified damages in excess of $50,000. It cites "extensive and time consuming" proceedings between Simpson's arrest in September 2007 and trial a year later.
Galanter, who is licensed in Florida but not Nevada, engaged Grasso as a Nevada lawyer and obtained permission from the trial judge to take part in the Simpson case in Las Vegas.
Grasso's lawyer, Joshua Tomsheck said Tuesday that Grasso did "the lion's share of the work." Grasso declined comment.
"They had a legal, binding agreement," Tomsheck said. "All the motions were filed by Gabriel Grasso. All the Nevada legal research was done by Gabriel Grasso. The agreement was that he would be paid for his expertise."
Simpson was convicted in October 2008 of leading a group of men in an armed confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers in a room at a Las Vegas casino hotel. He was sentenced in December 2008 to serving nine to 33 years in state prison.
The lawsuit says that Grasso confronted Galanter after learning three months later that Galanter had been paid $500,000. Galanter dismissed Grasso and said he wouldn't be paid.
The lawsuit refers to Grasso as a well-known and experienced criminal defender licensed in Nevada and Florida, where he and Galanter knew each other.
The Las Vegas Sun, which first reported the lawsuit, describes Galanter as a celebrity attorney who represents actress Brooke Mueller as well as her ex-husband, actor Charlie Sheen. Galanter was a Florida state prosecutor before representing Simpson in a road rage trial in Miami in October 2001 and several later cases.
In Simpson's Las Vegas trial, Galanter and Grasso argued that the NFL Hall of Famer, TV star and advertising pitchman was trying to retrieve personal mementoes and family possessions stolen following his acquittal in 1995 in the Los Angeles slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
They argued that Simpson had no idea two of the five men who accompanied him in the ill-fated caper had guns.
Simpson is now 64. He is being held at the medium-security Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada.
Galanter was notably absent last year when Simpson's appellate lawyer, Malcolm LaVergne, lost an appeal for Simpson's freedom before the Nevada Supreme Court.
Simpson knew that Galanter and Grasso were feuding, LaVergne said, and several intermediaries weren't able to resolve the dispute.
"This is a lawsuit that was several years coming," LaVergne said Tuesday. "Gabe has told me he was not paid."
Another Las Vegas attorney, Patricia Palm, said Tuesday she is preparing a detailed plea for Simpson's release from prison to be filed in Nevada state court. If that effort fails, the case could be appealed to federal court.
One of several claims Palm said she intends to make is that Simpson was not effectively represented by his trial attorneys.
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