LAS VEGAS – Claiming O.J. Simpson was dealt an injustice, an effort is under way to solicit money for the former football star's appeal of his Nevada conviction and prison sentence on kidnapping and armed robbery charges.
Barrett Prody, the brother of Simpson's former girlfriend, created a nonprofit corporation and an Internet Web site, the Society Against Legal Injustice Inc., to raise money for Simpson.
"I hope to help out someone who has gotten to be a good friend," Prody said by telephone from his home in Fargo, N.D. "I want to leverage his name in an effort to right an injustice out there in Las Vegas."
Simpson lawyers Yale Galanter in Miami and Gabriel Grasso in Las Vegas said they aren't connected to Prody's effort and don't think the fund is needed.
"It seems that Barrett has the best of intentions," Galanter said. "But whatever he's doing is on a separate track with what we're doing."
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The lawyers said they expected to file an appeal in the next six weeks with the Nevada Supreme Court of Simpson's Oct. 3 conviction for the armed robbery and kidnapping of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel room.
Galanter, who said he never met or spoke with Prody, said Simpson's trial fees and costs were fully paid and his appellate fees and costs were "basically paid." He declined to provide dollar amounts, citing attorney-client confidentiality.
Prody's effort has the backing of Simpson's daughter, Arnelle Simpson, and a close Simpson friend, Tom Scotto.
Arnelle Simpson and Scotto, both of Miami, told The Associated Press that they expected any money Prody raises would help pay the 61-year-old former football star and television actor's legal bills.
"It's legit," Arnelle Simpson said of Prody's effort. "It was established and created for my dad. Of course I approve of it and will support it."
Scotto said he also agreed to be a board member of the Society Against Legal Injustice.
"I know Barrett. I know his sister. I've worked with him to get this thing done," Scotto said.
Prody's younger sister, Christine Prody, was Simpson's girlfriend for more than a decade after the NFL Hall of Famer was acquitted in the 1994 slaying of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, in Los Angeles.
Simpson has huge financial obligations after being found liable for the deaths in a Los Angeles civil lawsuit. He was ordered to pay $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson estates.
Christine Prody stood by Simpson when he was arraigned in Las Vegas in September 2007, less than a week after he led five other men into a hotel room in an ill-fated bid to retrieve what he said were personal items and family mementos from two sports collectibles dealers.
But Christine Prody and Simpson are no longer a couple, Simpson's daughter and friends said.
Christine Prody, now 33, moved out of Simpson's house in Miami last year and lives in Fergus Falls, Minn. Barrett Prody said his sister had no connection with the Web fundraising effort.
Barrett Prody, 35, runs an automobile marketing company in North Dakota, and visits Las Vegas frequently. He said he talks several times a week by telephone with O.J. Simpson, who is serving nine to 33 years at Lovelock State Prison, a medium-security facility in northern Nevada.
Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart were convicted on all 12 charges, and Stewart was sentenced to 7 1/2 years to 27 years. The four other men who accompanied Simpson were sentenced to probation after they took plea deals and testified for the prosecution.
Prody's Web site blames the hotel room confrontation on Thomas Riccio, the memorabilia dealer who arranged the meeting, and criticizes prosecutors and Judge Jackie Glass for their handling of the case.
Prody estimated he spent about $6,000 filing incorporation papers in North Dakota and applying to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
He said he did not intend to take a salary from donations, at least at the start, and intended to use any money not needed for Simpson's case to fund other causes he deemed unjust.