|Here is more proof Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez could be dating again. "omg! Insider" correspondent Christina McLarty got a first hand look at the seating chart for Sunday's Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas and, as of now, it looks like Gomez and …
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O.J. Simpson is back in court, asking for a new trial in the armed robbery-kidnapping case that sent him to prison in 2008.
Simpson wore shackles and blue prison garb Monday, his appearance contrasting with the fancy clothing he wore during his acquittal in his historic, high-profile 1995 murder trial in Los Angeles. The suit he wore then is now part of the Newseum collection in Washington, D.C.
The former football star is 65, and serving a minimum nine-year prison term. He will be in court all week to claim that he had poor legal representation in the trial involving the gunpoint robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in 2007 in a Las Vegas hotel room.
So far, the crowds at the courthouse are small. The courtroom on Monday was partly empty, and an overflow room with closed-circuit hookups wasn’t needed.
Simpson is expected to testify on Wednesday.
Huge crowds turned out in 1995, when a jury acquitted him in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles, and also in 1997, when Simpson was found liable for damages in a civil wrongful death lawsuit and ordered to pay $33.5 million to Goldman, Nicole Brown Simpson estates.
Many people also came to his 2008 trial on the robbery and kidnapping charges.
O.J. Simpson will return next week to the Las Vegas courthouse where he was convicted of leading an armed sports memorabilia heist to ask a judge for a new trial on the grounds that his lawyer botched his case.
Simpson will take the witness stand to testify that the Florida lawyer who collected nearly $700,000 is to blame for his armed robbery and kidnapping conviction in 2008 and his failed appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court in 2010.
Simpson’s testimony in open court will offer a first look at the aging 65-year-old former football star since he was handcuffed and sent away to prison more than four years ago. Simpson didn’t testify at his Las Vegas trial or in the historic case that led to his 1995 acquittal in the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles.
Instead of an expensive suit and tie, Simpson will be dressed in blue Nevada Department of Corrections clothing — grayer, heavier and limping a little more from long-ago knee injuries, friends say. He is now Nevada inmate No. 1027820, a far cry from his playing days when Simpson wore jersey No. 32, won the Heisman Trophy, earned the nickname “The Juice” in the NFL and gained induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Simpson is scheduled to be in Clark County District Court beginning Monday for the entire five-day hearing. He could testify Wednesday before a judge who has agreed to hear 19 separate points, mostly claiming that lawyer Yale Galanter provided such poor representation that Simpson deserves a new trial.
Simpson is serving a nine-to-33-year sentence that makes him first eligible for parole at age 70.
If he wins a new trial, prosecutors would have to decide whether to retry him for an incident that happened in September 2007 or offer a plea deal sparing the time and expense of another trial.
In a sworn statement outlining his upcoming testimony, Simpson said he told Galanter in advance that he planned to confront two collectibles dealers in Las Vegas and retrieve what he expected would be family photos, heirlooms and personal sports mementoes items that he believed had been stolen from him after his “trial of the century” in Los Angeles.
“I fully disclosed my plan to Yale Galanter, and he advised me that I was within my legal rights,” he said.
Simpson said the two even had dinner the night before in Las Vegas, and Galanter told him he was within his legal rights as long as he didn’t trespass on private property or use physical force.
Simpson claims that at trial, Galanter told him he didn’t need to testify because prosecutors failed to prove their case, and didn’t tell him about a plea offer by prosecutors that would have gotten him a minimum of two years in prison.
“Had I understood that there was an actual chance of conviction, I would have accepted such an offer,” Simpson said.
Galanter, who is expected to testify Friday, declined to comment ahead of his appearance.
Throwing trial attorneys under the bus on appeals is a common legal tactic for people convicted of crimes — but rarely successful.
The burden of proof in a post-conviction writ of habeas corpus is on the defendant to convince a judge — not a jury — that the first trial was tainted and new evidence might yield acquittal. It’s not yet clear whether Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell will make an immediate ruling or issue a written decision later.
Bell didn’t handle the trial, and both prosecutors have retired. Most of the colorful cast of characters involved in Simpson’s first trial won’t be involved in next week’s hearing. Attorneys put the number of expected witnesses at 16 — including lawyers, experts, Simpson friends and his 44-year-old daughter, Arnelle.
Some legal observers think Simpson has a chance at getting a new trial.
“If Mr. Simpson can establish that the strategy of the defense was motivated by his lawyer’s self-interest, and that it compromised Mr. Simpson’s trial rights, he could overcome the defendant’s burden and establish the claim of ineffective assistance of counsel sufficient to get him a new trial,” said Las Vegas attorney Michael Cristalli. The veteran lawyer handled the successful appeal, retrial and 2004 acquittal of a former stripper in the 1998 death of wealthy casino executive Ted Binion.
Simpson’s 94-page petition for a new trial exempts trial co-counsel Gabriel Grasso from the conflict-of-interest question. It says Grasso wasn’t made aware of Galanter’s pre-incident advice, wasn’t privy to private strategy discussions between Galanter and Simpson, and was rebuked when he tried to advise Simpson without Galanter’s approval.
Former District Attorney David Roger is due to testify. In an interview, he recalled discussing a possible plea with Galanter during trial, but said discussions didn’t yield “negotiations in the legal sense.”
Galanter said Simpson might be willing to serve 24 months in prison, Roger recalled. Prosecutors countered with 30 months. Galanter later said Simpson wanted no more than 12 months. Roger said he thought Galanter had spoken with Simpson.
“That’s where the conversation ended,” the former prosecutor said.
H. Leon Simon, the chief deputy district attorney now handling the case, said Simpson isn’t owed a new trial. Evidence was overwhelming, he said.
Hotel security video showed Simpson and five other men arriving at the Palace Station casino-hotel with middleman Thomas Riccio, and leaving with boxes of items. Jurors heard audio recordings of Simpson and others talking about the plan ahead of time and of the five-minute confrontation involving nine men crammed around a big bed in a small room. Two of the men said they had guns.
Simpson trial co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart served more than two years of a 7 1/2-to-27 year prison sentence before the state Supreme Court overturned his conviction. The justices ruled Simpson’s fame tainted the Las Vegas proceedings and Stewart should have been tried separately.
Stewart took a plea deal to avoid a retrial and was convicted of felony robbery and conspiracy but set free.
“As far as Simpson is concerned, I wish him luck,” said Stewart, now 59 and driving limousine in New Orleans. “He needs to tell the truth about Yale Galanter. Yale only represented him to protect himself, to make sure his name didn’t come up.”
A self-described pimp was indicted Friday in Nevada state court on charges that could bring the death penalty if he is convicted in a fatal shooting and fiery crash that killed three people on the Las Vegas Strip in February.
In an unexpected move, the Clark County District Court grand jury also indicted Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, 27, on a charge of robbery and three felony sex assault counts in a 2010 case that had been dismissed last year when the alleged victim refused to testify.
Prosecutor David Stanton said the second indictment didn’t represent double-jeopardy under Nevada law because it was dismissed without prejudice before a preliminary hearing. That allows prosecutors to seek new charges after the alleged victim, who now lives in Texas, testified before the grand jury.
The rape charges could put Harris in prison for a minimum of 10 years. He could get two to 15 years on the robbery charge if convicted.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson has said he was considering the death penalty in the Las Vegas Strip incident but has not yet made a decision. Wolfson was out of town on Friday and unavailable for comment.
The indictment in the Strip shooting and crash accuses Harris of the same 11 felonies — three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and seven counts of discharging a weapon — that are contained in criminal complaints filed against him on Feb. 22.
Harris is expected to plead not guilty at his arraignment on May 6 in Clark County District Court in both cases. A Monday court date in Las Vegas Justice Court was canceled.
Harris was being held without bail at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas. His lawyers, David Schieck and Randall Pike, weren’t immediately available for comment.
Tourists compared the carnage and crashes early Feb. 21 to a Hollywood action film. The stunningly violent shooting occurred at the busy intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, which is flanked by Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Bally’s and the Flamingo.
Harris is accused of shooting from a black Range Rover into a Maserati sports car that then slammed into a taxi that burst into flames. Taxi driver Michael Boldon, 62, of Las Vegas, and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, of Maple Valley, Wash., were killed. The Maserati driver, 27-year-old Kenneth Cherry Jr., died at a hospital.
Another man in the Maserati suffered gunshot wounds and survived. Five other people in several other vehicles sustained lesser injuries.
Police said Harris and Cherry had exchanged angry words at a casino valet stand before speeding with tires squealing up the neon-splashed Strip. Investigators found no gun in the Maserati and no evidence that Cherry returned fire before crashing.
Long before the shooting, Harris posted videos of himself fanning a stack of $100 bills and boasting about luxury cars, prostitutes and living in a house full of women who were all paying him. Records showed he lived in Miami, Atlanta and Las Vegas.
Records also show Harris was never convicted of pimping. But the 2010 case prompted police to seek charges of pandering by force and felon in possession of a concealed weapon. Prosecutors went ahead with robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping and coercion with a weapon charges before the case was dropped.
Harris was previously convicted in South Carolina in 2004 of felony possession with intent to sell a stolen pistol and convicted in Atlanta of a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.
Find Ken Ritter on Twitter: http://twitter.com/krttr
Clark County taxicab drivers taking tourists on the scenic route to and from the airport overcharged their passengers an estimated $14.8 million last year, according to a legislative audit released Monday.
The report said the state Taxicab Authority needs to do more to prevent these roundabout rides, which are meant to run up the meter and accounted for 22.5 percent of the 2,730 airport trips that auditors reviewed.
“Taxicab trips are often the first and last experience tourists have in Las Vegas,” auditors wrote. “Therefore, long hauling may result in tourists having a negative experience.”
Officials with the Taxicab Authority, which oversees the 16 cab companies in Clark County and their estimated 9,000 drivers, were not immediately available for comment on the report Monday morning.
The report said the authority had not audited individual taxicab companies for more than 3 1/2 years, making it difficult for the authority to assure companies are following the law. State auditors said more than half of the 600 driver trip sheets they reviewed didn’t have the proper time stamps that would ensure drivers aren’t working too many hours and taking to the roads while fatigued.
While the Legislature allocated more funds in 2003 so the Taxicab Authority could audit the cab companies, authority managers were assigning staff members to other tasks instead of audits, the report said.
Auditors also recommended the authority keep better tabs on its inventory of medallions — the metal plates that authorize a taxi to operate. One company received an extra medallion and kept it for about 14 months, the report said, while another reported two-thirds of its medallions had been lost or stolen since 2006.
Each permanent medallion generates about $190,000 in gross revenue each year, officials said.
Sloppy records could allow taxi companies to gain an unauthorized share of the market, and make it difficult for Taxi Authority board members to determine whether they should authorize more cabs on the road.
Having too few medallions means passengers would have to wait too long for their ride, while having too many leaves too little work for drivers and encourages them to long-haul to make up for lost revenue, the report said.
The Taxicab Authority is required to respond to the audit with a plan of action by July 17. It’s also required to follow up with a six-month progress report by Jan. 17.
In this book, Laird traces the bargain – that touchstone of American culture – from its humble dollar-store origins to its recent role as global juggernaut. Along the way, he discovers that much of today’s collapsing consumer economy is dangerously dependant upon unsustainable labor, transport, resources, trade imbalances, and consumer debt. Through interviews with everyone from box store executives to illegal immigrants, a single question emerges: Is the Wal-Mart culture sustainable on a global level? From Asia’s factory borderlands to rural Mexico, from Las Vegas to the Arctic Circle, Laird explores the hidden revolution of discounting, and the promise and consequence of everyday low prices.
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The district attorney in Las Vegas says mistakes were made, but no criminal charges will be filed against a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed, disabled Gulf War veteran in his car in December 2011.
Clark County DA Steve Wolfson issued a report Thursday saying that Officer Jesus Arevalo thought he was shooting in self-defense when he opened fire with an assault-style rifle, killing Stanley LaVon Gibson.
In fact, what Arevalo heard was another officer firing a beanbag shotgun to break a side window of Gibson’s vehicle.
A grand jury previously refused to indict in the case.
Attorney Cal Potter represents Gibson’s widow, Rondha Gibson, in a federal lawsuit accusing Las Vegas police of civil rights violations.
Potter says he didn’t expect that the county DA would prosecute.
Air Force officials say a series of errors led to the crash of an unmanned drone aircraft in December in a remote area north of Las Vegas.
A report released Tuesday says the pilot didn’t properly execute a preflight checklist before taking control of the drone, which stalled and crashed Dec. 5 in Douglas County near Mount Irish.
Nobody was injured in the crash, but the loss of the drone and artillery on board was estimated at $9.6 million.
Nellis Air Force Base officials say the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft was being used in an Air Force weapons school combat training mission. It was assigned to the 57th Wing at the base.
A Nellis spokeswoman said it wasn’t immediately clear Tuesday morning whether anyone has been disciplined for the mishap.
Investigators believe four suspects stole property in the apartment of Nevada’s chief insurance examiner before killing him and dumping his body in a river, authorities said Sunday.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said all four suspects have been booked on murder charges in the death of William McCune, 62, whose blanket-wrapped, duct-tape-bound body was found Saturday.
Initially, Michael Evans, 23, and Anthony Elliot, 20, were booked on murder charges, while Raul Garcia, 22, and Makyla Blackmore, 20, were arrested on burglary charges. But Furlong said Sunday that Garcia and Blackmore were later booked on murder charges.
The suspects are from the Carson City area, he said, and the case isn’t related to McCune’s work for the state.
Investigators found evidence of a bloody, violent struggle in McCune’s apartment on Thursday, the same day he was reported missing after he failed to catch a business flight with a co-worker.
Detectives believe McCune knew two of the suspects socially, Furlong said, and the motive was the theft of property or money from him. They’re still processing evidence at McCune’s apartment and trying to compile an accurate list of stolen items, he said.
“We think stealing was quite apparently the motive because they took so much from him,” Furlong told The Associated Press. “The mystery is if you intended on robbing and killing him, why did you have to take the body out? That doesn’t make sense to me.”
Three suspects were arrested Saturday on the Las Vegas Strip after allegedly trying to sell a “computer item,” the sheriff said. Investigators were trying to determine whether it belonged to McCune.
Evans was taken into custody in Carson City, while authorities believe the other three suspects fled Carson City for Las Vegas after news broke of McCune’s disappearance.
All four suspects were spotted near McCune’s apartment around the time of his disappearance, and businesses frequented by the suspects provided important tips that led to their arrests, Furlong said. He declined to elaborate.
Authorities were unsure how long two of the suspects and McCune knew each other or how they met.
It wasn’t clear Sunday whether any of the four had an attorney, and the Las Vegas and Carson City jails don’t make new inmates available to the media for comment. The three suspects in Las Vegas are expected to be returned to Carson City within a week.
McCune had held his position since December 2009 and worked similar jobs for two decades before that. As head of the division’s corporate and financial affairs section, McCune worked to ensure the solvency of insurance companies in the state. He was charged with ensuring each company had sufficient money in their reserves to cover all claims and obligations.
McCune was single and without any known children, Furlong said, and there was no forced entry at his home.
Investigators believe the body found in the Carson River Saturday was that of McCune, even though a positive identification and cause of death are not expected to be officially established by the Washoe County medical examiner’s office until later this week, he said.
There was no indication yet of the weapon or weapons involved in the death, he added, but investigators would have a better idea after autopsy results are released.
While authorities have not found McCune’s pickup truck, they located its license plates Friday night at a Carson City residence that Evans was known to have frequented, the sheriff said.
Investigators do not expect any additional arrests in the case. “We believe all the people involved have been taken into custody,” Furlong said.
|When the 2013 Billboard Music Awards goes on air on ABC live from the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 19, current pop superstars Taylor Swift, Justin BIeber and Bruno Mars will be providing the entertainment during the awards ceremony.
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