This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," September 20, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: O.J. Simpson's lawyer — and I should say only lawyer, besides local counsel — Yale Galanter, joins us from Miami. Welcome, Yale.
YALE GALANTER, O.J. SIMPSON'S ATTORNEY: Hi, Greta. It's a pleasure to be here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you. And I say only because it's you and Mr. Grasso who are going to represent, at least at this point, the sole team. You may add investigators and other people to the team, I take it.
GALANTER: That's correct, absolutely.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. All right. When was the first time you heard that there was a problem in a Vegas hotel?
GALANTER: I heard about it — I think last Thursday is when I heard about it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thursday night? It happened Thursday night. Did you hear about it that night?
GALANTER: No, if it happened Thursday night, then I heard about it Friday morning.
VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you heard it from your client?
GALANTER: Actually, I didn't hear it from my client. I heard it from somebody in his family, that there was a police contact at the hotel and that there was a possibility that he may be arrested.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So tell me what transpired, because I know that there's a lot of sort of behind-the-scenes, your effort to represent your client and get him bail because that's the first thing a criminal defense lawyer does. Explain what went on behind the scenes.
GALANTER: Well, what happened on Friday was I contacted the Las Vegas Police Department. I talked to one of the detectives there, as I did on Saturday and Sunday. And I established a couple things. One was that O.J. Simpson was scheduled to leave on Sunday because I didn't want them to think that they were investigating these charges in this case and that he was taking flight. So I let them know right up front what his pre-planned travel information was.
The second thing I let them know, that I was coming out there. I was going to start my own investigation, start interviewing witnesses, get as much information as I could, and that it was our intention to try and be as cooperative as possible with the police.
I spoke to another detective on Saturday, who told me that if Mr. Simpson wanted to come in and give a statement, that we could come in. I declined to do that. Then Sunday morning at about 11:00 o'clock, I was notified either by Arnelle, his daughter, or Christie, his girlfriend, that he had been arrested.
There were some phone calls back and forth between myself and a Detective Martinez (ph) at the robbery section, and I was told that I could actually go to the robbery section and go visit Mr. Simpson, make sure he was OK, be with my client, make sure his rights were invoked. And when I actually got to the police station at the Decatur (ph) and Oakley (ph), I was refused entry to the building, refused entry to the robbery section.
He was supposed to be transported some time around 4:00 or 5:00 o'clock. I thought I'd be able to get to see him at the detention center before 10:00, when they stop visiting. That did not occur because, as I'm sure you know, he was transported fairly late that afternoon.
Woke up Monday morning. I was scheduled to take a plane back to Ft. Lauderdale because I had a hearing on Tuesday morning, made some initial contact with the DA to start talking about a stipulation for bail. That was finalized on Tuesday. We worked to get the bond hearing moved up from Thursday to Wednesday. And then, as you know, at 8:00 AM Wednesday morning, Judge Bonaventure signed off on our stipulation.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, the stipulation was for — it's $125,000 bond, and there are some other things like, Surrender your passport, things like that.
GALANTER: Right. Mr. Simpson immediately gave me the passport. The $125,000 assurety (ph) bond was posted. He has got unrestricted travel within the continental United States. And there's a rule that he can't contact any of the witnesses either directly or indirectly.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, many of the lawyers told us on the ground there that $78,000 is sort of the schedule amount. Was the increased amount discussed with the lawyers? Is that because he was out of state and because, for lack of a better word, the history and some concern that that might cause him to flee? Why the — actually, most people thought it would be much higher, but nonetheless, it was higher than the scheduled $78,000.
GALANTER: Greta, that's a great question. The schedule was for $78,000. Obviously, O.J. brought a lot of attention to this situation just because it was him. You know, he did not have any ties to Nevada. You know, of course, he's got this public perception issue. You know, obviously, the prior contacts. Quite frankly, I thought the $125,000 was, you know, a real good bond under this set of circumstances.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think, based on our e-mail, that you're probably the only one. A lot of people were expecting a substantial amount more. Nonetheless, it's the DA who made that deal with you. Now, in terms of what transpired that night, do you — is O.J. — does he say these are friends of his in that hotel room? Does he know these people?
GALANTER: Greta, you know, I cannot discuss what we've learned or what our defenses are going to be in court. You know, quite frankly, up until yesterday morning, my focus was strictly on getting Mr. Simpson bond, getting him released and getting back to his home and his family here in Florida.
Today was really the first day that everyone in my office started going through the witness statements, the evidence, all of the police reports in detail. It's not that we didn't do it before, we did, but now we're really going to start on, you know, dissecting the case, coming up with all the legal theories, all the motions to suppress and motions to dismiss and establishing a defense for him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I take it that you have not yet received what we call discovery — I mean, information. Do you have a copy of the tape, for instance, of Mr. Riccio's tape that he made in the room?
VAN SUSTEREN: You don't have that yet. You'll get that in due course.
GALANTER: We have all the preliminary documents. We have the — you know, the criminal complaint. We have some other documents. But under the rules, they are not required to give us discovery this quickly, and it'll take a few weeks before we get our copy of the tape.
Most of what I have been learning about these witnesses and the evidence and the tape has been coming from the various media outlets.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you about a document that I've received a copy of. I think probably anybody has. It's sort of a peculiar one. I assume you have it because it's addressed to you from the Clark County courts administration. It's sort of — it's written — dated September 20. It's an apology, which is sort of peculiar. Have you received this from the court executive officer?
GALANTER: I have.
VAN SUSTEREN: What — I mean, this is so peculiar. Can you explain what this is all about?
GALANTER: Well, before I explain it, first let me say, as I said at the press conference yesterday, I thought everybody in the courthouse, at the detention center acted professionally, and this letter really just puts the icing on that cake.
There was a clerk in the courtroom that took a picture of Mr. Simpson or a partial picture of Mr. Simpson with a cell phone. It immediately became known. This person's supervisor or boss took care of that problem, called me personally, expressed his sincere apology, just was very gracious. And I was so touched and grateful for that phone call because they are true professionals in that courthouse, and I appreciated the fact that they were on top of this immediately.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, in terms of representing your client, I assume that it does not come as any big surprise to you that probably 99 percent of the population considers your client very lucky in having beaten a double murder case for which 99 percent believe he committed two very brutal murders. How does that factor into this investigation and this case, if it does at all?
GALANTER: Well, it doesn't — it certainly doesn't factor into the investigation. And it certainly doesn't factor into our theories of defense and whatever legal motions we would file. It definitely factors into whether or not this case will become a jury trial or a bench trial because if we put jurors in a box, we want to make sure that they're fair and impartial.
Greta, as you know, I said at the press conference yesterday I am a student, child of the criminal justice system. I grew up as a lawyer in the criminal justice system, and I have a lot of faith in the system. I tried, you know, in 2001, or 2002, I can't remember the exact year, a charge where Mr. Simpson was charged with road rage. And at the same time, even though it didn't get the publicity that this case is getting, there were a number of media reports about whether or not he could get a fair jury, you know, people were enraged, most of America thought he committed the crime.
And we were able to pick a fair jury. We were able to get a just result. And eventually, the jury in Dade County acquitted Mr. Simpson of those charges. So I really do have a lot of faith in the judicial system and I have a lot of faith in juries.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I know you're not going to talk about information as part of the attorney-client privilege. It has to do with the facts of this case. But your client walking into that courtroom, wearing a blue jumpsuit, looking around the courtroom, familiar there, his family sitting there, just like they did in the criminal case, just like they did in the civil case. Marcia Clark, the prosecutor who tried the criminal case against him, sitting in the courtroom — did he say anything to you about sort of the — whether it was peculiar to be back in that setting again?
GALANTER: Greta, I'm not going to comment on any conversations that O.J. and I had. And I apologize for that in advance. I know some other lawyers have been doing some media things and they've discussed those things. I just feel very uncomfortable discussing any topic I've discussed with O.J.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let's talk a little bit about the other lawyer, because you and I went a little head to head. We butted heads the other night on this local lawyer. What happened with that local lawyer?
GALANTER: Well, as best I can determine — and two things I want to tell you. One is my understanding is The Las Vegas Review-Journal is doing a story on this tomorrow, and they're actually going to publish a list of unauthorized lawyers that went in to see O.J. Simpson, who were uninvited.
The second thing is, is the Nevada bar did send a letter of inquiry to the lawyer that I was so upset about and you and I had the dispute over the other day.
But here's what happened from my point of view. This lawyer goes in and sees O.J. Simpson. O.J. — it's my understanding that O.J. says to him, Listen, you're are not going to be the lawyer. Yale's the lawyer. Yale will hire local counsel. And basically dismisses the lawyer. The lawyer, on his own, without authorization, files a motion to have O.J. Simpson's bond lowered. Now, of course, this lawyer has no idea that we've already contacted David Rogers, we're working on the details...
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me stop you right there. Had he called you or had your name ever come up, do you know, between O.J. and him at this point, if you know?
GALANTER: Well, I certainly don't know. Well, I know O.J. told him that I was, you know, O.J.'s lawyer. But I have never spoken to this individual, and quite frankly, don't want to. But it's obvious — I mean, he wasn't in the loop because we were working out these details behind the scene, and he files this motion, thinking there's going to be a hearing. And of course, the whole time, my goal was to get this done under the radar and have an agreement prior to walking into court.
You know, when you and I went head to head, I didn't know that you had had him on your show that night because, as you know...
VAN SUSTEREN: I wasn't about to tell you, you were so mad! I wasn't about to tell you because you were so mad.
GALANTER: I had no idea. And you know, you show me those papers, and what I wanted to tell you that I couldn't because of my deal with the DA out there, was, you know, Greta, he's definitely a faker and a sham because O.J.'s getting out in the morning. There's a stipulation. The only thing left to do is have whatever judge was going to be at the hearing sign off on it, and I couldn't do that. You kept asking me questions about why we didn't file a motion or why we didn't file an appearance, and that's the reason, because we knew there was no need to.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. In terms of Simpson, how long have you represented him?
GALANTER: I'm sorry, Greta, what?
VAN SUSTEREN: How long have you represented O.J. Simpson?
GALANTER: Oh, I've represented O.J. since 2001.
VAN SUSTEREN: And so the first one is the road rage?
GALANTER: The first case I represented him on was the road rage case.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever represented his girlfriend?
GALANTER: Not that I'm aware of.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, that's a lame answer, "Not that I'm aware of"?
GALANTER: No. And I'll tell you — I'll tell you why...
VAN SUSTEREN: I want the explanation for this! All right. Go ahead.
GALANTER: No. No, listen, I'm on the show because I want to make amends and you know I don't...
VAN SUSTEREN: You don't have to make amends. You and I are going to — we're going to have more fights between now and the end of this case. Don't worry.
GALANTER: The only reason I'm saying that is because I seem to recall some either — minor traffic incidents that one of the associates in the firm may have handled. I don't believe I've ever personally represented her, but my name may be on some pleadings and one of the other associates in the firm may have done some minor things for her. But I really don't remember.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I understand it's very early on in the case. You haven't discussed sort of the meat of the case with your client, just on the bond. You have given sort of even a thought to the issue of speedy trial? Do you intend — because that's going to — that's a very important part of this case, whether you push this to trial fast or not.
GALANTER: I really haven't. You know, quite frankly, my feeling right now is that the media has done such a great job at discrediting all of the witnesses and has come up with all these great things on the witnesses, that right now, I'm just kind of sitting back, turning on the television, watching your show every night and laughing at how many inconsistent statements, the fact that they have prior records, the fact that, you know, there arrest — an arrest warrant out for one of the lead accusers of my client. I mean, this is great stuff, Greta. Normally, a lawyer...
VAN SUSTEREN: The only...
GALANTER: ... may want to get it to go quick, but not in this circumstance.
VAN SUSTEREN: The only problem you have — the only problem you have — and this is why you got to get really — you know, from the defense perspective — that tape. That's a very damning tape, you know, and everybody's now heard that.
GALANTER: Well, I think that, you know, based on what I've seen in the media, I really think the tape cuts both ways. I mean, you know, at the end of this tape, you have Beardsley saying, Let's not call the police, we're going to make a lot of money. He asks for someone by the name of Lydia. I think he mentions either "Extra" or "Inside Edition" or one of the tabloid shows. I mean, that's huge, Greta.
And it's not until after they have the discussion of how much money they could make that they make the call to the 911 operator. And even in that call, what Beardsley says to the 911 operator we now know was a completely false statement. So I'm not so sure I agree with that.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I understand. Did O.J. Simpson know that conversation in that room was being recorded?
GALANTER: Oh, I — again, I just cannot discuss with you...
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know the answer to that? I mean, OK, you won't tell me, but do you know the answer to that?
GALANTER: I do know the answer to that, and I can't discuss it.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, we'll get you back on, and somehow we'll pry it out of you some other time.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yale, thank you, and I'm sure we'll see a lot of you. Thank you, Yale.
GALANTER: Greta, my pleasure.
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