Celebrity attorney F. Lee Bailey dead at 87



WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) — F. Lee Bailey, the superstar lawyer who defended O.J. Simpson, Patricia Hearst and the alleged Boston Strangler, however whose authorized profession halted when he was disbarred in two states, has died, a former colleague stated Thursday. He was 87.

The demise was confirmed Thursday by Peter Horstmann, who labored with Bailey as an affiliate in the identical legislation workplace for seven years.

In a authorized profession that lasted greater than 4 many years, Bailey was seen as smug, selfish and contemptuous of authority. However he was additionally acknowledged as daring, good, meticulous and tireless within the protection of his purchasers.

“The authorized career is a enterprise with an incredible assortment of egos,” Bailey stated an in interview with U.S. Information and World Report in September 1981. “Few people who find themselves not sturdy egotistically gravitate to it.”

A few of Bailey’s different high-profile purchasers included Dr. Samuel Sheppard — accused of killing his spouse — and Capt. Ernest Medina, charged in reference to the My Lai bloodbath through the Vietnam Warfare.

“I’ve by no means recognized a higher mind than that possessed by F. Lee Bailey,” stated J. Albert Johnson, Bailey’s longtime authorized companion and childhood pal.

Bailey, an avid pilot, best-selling creator and tv present host, was a member of the authorized “dream group” that defended Simpson, the previous star NFL operating again and actor acquitted on expenses that he killed his spouse, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her pal, Ron Goldman, in 1995.

Bailey was probably the most helpful member of the group, Simpson stated in a 1996 story in The Boston Globe Journal.

“He was in a position to simplify every little thing and establish what probably the most very important components of the case have been,” Simpson stated. “Lee laid down what the case’s technique was, what was going to be essential and what was not. I believed he had an incredible grasp of what was going to be an important components of the case, and that turned out to be true.”

One of the memorable moments of the trial got here when Bailey aggressively cross-examined Los Angeles police Detective Mark Fuhrman in an try and painting him as a racist whose aim was to border Simpson. It was traditional Bailey.

Fuhrman denied utilizing racial epithets, however the protection later turned up recordings of Fuhrman making racist slurs.

Despite the fact that Fuhrman remained cool beneath stress, and a few authorized specialists known as the confrontation a draw, Bailey, recalling the trade months later, stated, “That was the day Fuhrman dug his personal grave.”

Bailey earned acquittals for a lot of of his purchasers, however he additionally misplaced instances, most notably Hearst’s.

Hearst, a publishing heiress, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Military terrorist group on Feb. 4, 1974, and took part in armed robberies with the group. At trial, Bailey claimed she was coerced into collaborating as a result of she feared for her life. She nonetheless was convicted.


Hearst known as Bailey an “ineffective counsel” who lowered the trial to “a mockery, a farce, and a sham,” in a declaration she signed with a movement to scale back her sentence. Hearst accused him of sacrificing her protection in an effort to get a e-book deal in regards to the case.

She was launched in January 1979 after President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence.

Bailey made his title because the lawyer for Sheppard, an Ohio osteopath convicted in 1954 of murdering his spouse.

Sheppard spent greater than a decade behind bars earlier than the U.S. Supreme Courtroom dominated in a landmark 1966 resolution that “large, pervasive, prejudicial publicity” had violated his rights. Bailey helped win an acquittal at a second trial.

Bailey additionally defended Albert DeSalvo, the person who claimed accountability for the Boston Strangler murders between 1962 and 1964. DeSalvo confessed to the slayings, however was by no means tried or convicted, and later recanted. Regardless of doubts thrown on DeSalvo’s declare, Bailey all the time maintained that DeSalvo was the strangler.

All through his profession, Bailey antagonized authorities along with his generally abrasive type and his quest for publicity. He was censured by a Massachusetts decide in 1970 for “his philosophy of maximum egocentricity,” and was disbarred for a 12 months in New Jersey in 1971 for speaking publicly a few case.

Bailey was disbarred in Florida in 2001 and the following 12 months in Massachusetts for the best way he dealt with thousands and thousands of {dollars} in inventory owned by a convicted drug smuggler in 1994. He spent nearly six weeks in federal jail charged with contempt of courtroom in 1996 after refusing to show over the inventory. The expertise left him “embittered.” He finally gained the precise to follow legislation in Maine in 2013.

Francis Lee Bailey was born within the Boston suburb of Waltham, the son of a newspaper promoting man and a schoolteacher.

He enrolled at Harvard College in 1950 however left on the finish of his sophomore 12 months to coach to turn out to be a Marine pilot. He retained a lifelong love of flying and even owned his personal aviation firm.

Whereas within the navy, Bailey volunteered for the authorized workers on the Cherry Level Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina, and shortly discovered himself the authorized officer for greater than 2,000 males.

Bailey earned a legislation diploma from Boston College in 1960, the place he had a 90.5 common, however he graduated with out honors as a result of he refused to affix the Legislation Evaluation. He stated the college waived the requirement for an undergraduate diploma due to his navy authorized expertise.

Bailey was married 4 instances and divorced three. His fourth spouse, Patricia, died in 1999. He had three youngsters.


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