Legal Expert: What's Next for O.J. Simpson?

10/05/2008 at 06:00 AM EDT

Legal Expert: What's Next for O.J. Simpson?
O.J. Simpson's booking photo
Courtesy Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept.
Patrick McDonald, a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney not involved with O.J. Simpson's latest case, spoke to PEOPLE about the ex-gridiron star's legal options following his conviction Friday night.

Can Simpson's attorneys delay his Dec. 5 sentencing?
Yes, his attorneys can ask Judge Jackie Glass for a new trial. But this is extremely difficult to win. They'll have to provide newly uncovered evidence, prove there was serious juror misconduct or offer any other surprise revelations that Simpson did not get a fair trial. If they have a convincing argument, Judge Glass could set new hearings for witnesses to be heard, thus delaying Simpson's [scheduled Dec. 5] sentencing.

If the case moves in that direction, could Simpson be temporarily freed from jail?
The judge could grant him bail, but that's unlikely due to the severity of his possible sentence. Simpson's attorneys would have to prove he's not a flight risk or a danger to the community, and would have to convince the court that he'd show up for hearings.

How good an argument do Simpson's attorneys have for a new trial based on the impression that the case seemed filled with questionable witnesses?
You generally cannot win a new trial based on the witnesses' credibility – that was for the jury to decide.

What about appealing the conviction?
That's different from the above. An appeal can only be requested after a person is sentenced. And it would have to be submitted to the Nevada State Supreme Court no later than 30 days after he's sentenced. An appeal is also extremely difficult to win.

So what's the likelihood of Simpson's actually doing hard time?
If he doesn't win a new trial or an appeal, at the very least he's looking at six years in a state prison facility, and at worst, life behind bars.

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