LAS VEGAS, Sept. 19, 2007 -- Forget the snazzy suits and multimillion dollar defense team. This time, O.J.'s represented in his latest legal troubles by his longtime consigliere -- and some local lawyers.
They're not exactly the dream team. But then again, maybe they don't have to be considering that their client isn't facing murder charges.
O.J. Simpson's current crop of lawyers includes his longtime consigliere, a low-key local criminal defense attorney and three local lawyers who visited Simpson in jail and claim that they're being sidelined in the high-profile case amid accusations of defamation and racism.
Back in 1995, Simpson was represented by the infamous dream team of Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, F. Lee Bailey and Alan Dershowitz, whose multimillion-dollar defense got him acquitted on charges of murdering his wife and Ron Goldman. Back then, Simpson's net worth was estimated to top $15 million.
During this morning's bail hearing, Simpson was represented by Yale Galanter and Gabriel Grasso, an odd couple -- Galanter is a smooth-talking Florida lawyer and Grasso is a low-key lawyer who favors rumpled suits and whose office is across the street from the courthouse in Las Vegas.
Although it's not known what Simpson is paying them, the former football great's fortunes have declined dramatically since 1995 and his net worth is estimated to be close to $3 million.
The pair of lawyers declined comparisons to the dream team, with Galanter explaining that "we handle things in a routine way inside that building," pointing to the courthouse.
Grasso shook his head when asked about the dream team, pointing to the building where his office is located and saying, "I'm just a local guy, a simple criminal defense attorney."
Galanter has represented Simpson since 2000, when Simpson's civil lawyers recommended him to handle Simpson's defense in a road-rage incident south of Miami. Simpson was accused of cutting off another driver, confronting him and tearing off his sunglasses.
But since then, Galanter has also functioned as an unofficial spokesperson for the notorious football legend, arranging media interviews. When a New Yorker writer profiled Simpson in 2001, Galanter invited him to play golf and visit sick patients in a hospital with Simpson.
A former prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, Galanter makes frequent TV appearances and has also represented former WWF wrestler Terry Szopinski and a U.S. Customs agent accused of bribery.
Who Is on the Team?
Grasso, who has defended gang members, accused adulterers and a man accused of enslaving Chinese acrobats, has known Galanter since Grasso graduated from law school in Florida in 1988. Grasso is helping Galanter navigate Nevada's laws.
But some other local attorneys claim that Simpson wanted them to represent him.
Scott Holper, Liborius Agwara and Malcolm Lavergne all visited Simpson in jail Monday and met with Simpson's sister and daughter to discuss his defense.
This morning, Galanter emphasized that "the only two lawyers who are repping Mr. Simpson are myself and Mr. Grasso." He took a shot at other lawyers, such as Holper, who have made television appearances to discuss the case, adding that "I felt like I was in a Joe Pesci movie" in a reference to the actor's portrayal of a rube lawyer in the 1992 movie "My Cousin Vinny."
Now Holper is striking back, claiming that he was told to go visit Simpson in jail and that Galanter is treating him unfairly. "I don't like the way that I was defamed," he told ABCNEWS.com. "There was some nasty language used and I'm going to have to prepare some paperwork to deal with it."
Holper wouldn't comment further and declined to say whether he is considering legal action against Galanter, except to add that he was the first attorney to visit Simpson in jail Monday morning. "He was very happy that I was there."
'White Boys Fighting Over O.J.'
Agwara and Lavergne, who are both African-American, are claiming that they're being sidelined because Simpson wanted them to represent him.
"Yale is out there talking about people stealing his law client," said Agwara, who usually handles personal injury cases.
"Maybe he doesn't want any African-American lawyers working on this case. O.J. strongly expressed his interest in AA attorneys on his team."
Agwara said that he and Lavergne told Simpson that they didn't want any money and that they were working on a pro bono basis for the time.
"All these white boys are fighting over O.J. and I don't know why Galanter is getting all pissed off. He left this guy rotting in jail."
Galanter did not return calls about Agwara's claims.