Galanter has yet to review the facts surrounding the multiple
charges against his client, he maintains Simpson is innocent.
"My gut feeling is that you've got two basic
accusers," he says. "One of them is in the hospital
and one is in jail. Obviously, I do not think Simpson is
guilty of any of these charges. I do think O.J. gets treated
differently because he's O.J."
nowadays, Galanter is treated differently because he is with
civil attorneys in California first referred the former pro
athlete to Galanter when he moved from Los Angeles to the
Miami area in September of 2000. But it was not until three
months later that they met. That was when Simpson became
involved in a road rage incident in which he was accused of
reaching into another vehicle and ripping eyeglasses off the
face of its driver. Simpson showed up at Galanter's office
shortly after. "I actually came back one day and he was
sitting in my conference room," Galanter tells TIME.
the start of the road rage trial in October 2001, Simpson
apparently had so much confidence in Galanter that he entered
the Miami courtroom whistling, "If I Only Had a
Brain." He has good reason to be impressed by Galanter.
Simpson faced up to 16 years behind bars. But Galanter, 50,
presented an interesting defense. Police had O.J.'s thumbprint
on the pair of glasses worn by the man that Simpson allegedly
cut off while driving his SUV in a Miami suburb. However,
because the print was on the outside of the lens, Galanter
argued Simpson hadn't grabbed the glasses off the man's face,
but instead touched the lens when he put his hands up to keep
the other man from coming after him. That clever line of
reasoning may have helped Simpson avoid jail time.
has also helped Galanter's profile. Simpson's celebrity made
the lawyer a public figure almost overnight. Whenever Simpson
gets in trouble — and that seems to be a constant —
Galanter's name has been out there. That has included a
federal drug raid on Simpson's home in 2001, a ticket for
speeding in a manatee zone in 2002, a domestic violence call
to his residence in 2003, and his participation last year in
the writing of a fictional account of the murders of his
former wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.
than one prosecutor in Miami acknowledges that no matter what
Simpson does, he makes Galanter look good. "He was a
nobody until he represented O.J. on a case that never should
have gone to trial," says one Miami-based prosecutor who
asked not to be named, referring to the road-rage case, adding
"almost anybody could have won that." Since then,
Galanter has parlayed his connection to Simpson into regular
appearances on TV talk shows analyzing a variety of criminal
cases, including the Kobe Bryant rape accusation and the Scott
Peterson murder trial.
Galanter gets most ink from his representation of Simpson, the
Philadelphia native actually started out as a state prosecutor
in Florida. Galanter honed his trial skills at the Miami-Dade
State Attorney's Office under Janet Reno. That's also where he
met his wife, Elyse. She was a court reporter in former Judge
Tom Scott's courtroom and that's where Galanter had been
assigned as well. They've been together 21 years, married for
only child of Robert and Beverly Galanter, he says he grew up
in idyllic circumstances in the Philadelphia suburb of Cherry
Hill, N.J. He speaks proudly of the work his father and
paternal grandparents did in the area. "My dad's mother
was the first female optometrist in the U.S.," he says.
"My dad worked for his mom as an optometrist. He's still
father plans to celebrate his 90th birthday next month.
Instead of continuing the line of optometrists in the family,
Galanter originally planned to spend his days on the links.
"I was in line to become a professional golfer," he
says. "I probably grew up in the only Jewish family whose
parents did not want their son to become a doctor or
lawyer." But O.J. is probably glad Galanter didn't choose
to swing clubs for money.