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Gibbons hires celebrity lawyer

Robert Shapiro helped with O.J. Simpson defense

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Former Zions Bancorporation executive Dale Gibbons switched attorneys and linked up with celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro — who is perhaps best known as a member of O. J. Simpson's "Dream Team."

Gibbons has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, dealing material harmful to a minor and child endangerment.

During a quick hearing Thursday, Gibbons' original attorney, Anneli R. Smith, who was working with local lawyer Neil Kaplan, presented 3rd District Court Judge Robin Reese with documents asking that they be allowed to withdraw from the case.

Sara Caplan, one of Shapiro's partners, was in court Thursday to take over representing Gibbons along with Utah attorney David Reymann, an associate with Parr Waddoups Brown Gee & Loveless.

Reese approved the change and also reduced Gibbons' $150,000 bail by $75,000.

Out-of-state lawyers must get permission from a Utah court and have a Utah attorney involved in a case before proceeding.

"I've just been retained," Caplan said in response to questions as she left the courtroom amid a horde of reporters and cameras. "We're conducting what we think is a very thorough investigation and we are convinced of our client's innocence."

Caplan, who flew in from Los Angeles for the hearing, said Shapiro would be present at Gibbons' court appearances at some point in the future.

Prosecutor Jeff Hall had no objection to the change and said the case would be handled by the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office just like any other. "Every case is important," he said.

Besides defending Simpson in the 1995 murder trial, Shapiro also has defended such celebrities as athletes Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco and Vince Coleman, as well as Christian Brando (Marlon Brando's son) and movie producer Robert Evans.

Gibbons' next court date is Aug. 14 before 3rd District Court Judge Frank Noel.


E-MAIL: lindat@desnews.com