F Lee Bailey: Celebrity lawyer who defended OJ Simpson dies aged 87 | US News



F Lee Bailey, one of the most famous defence lawyers of his generation, has died at the age of 87, his former colleague has said.

The criminal defence lawyer is best known for representing and helping to acquit OJ Simpson and Dr Sam Sheppard, who were both accused of murdering their wives.

He also famously defended newspaper heiress Patty Hearst and the alleged Boston Strangler, Alberto DeSalvo.

Patty Hearst
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Patty Hearst was convicted for bank robbery and sentenced to prison in 1976
Boston strangler Albert DeSalvo
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Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo was among Mr Bailey’s clients

His son Bendrix Bailey confirmed the death, in hospice care, but did not state the cause.

He said his father had been in poor health in recent years and had moved to Georgia to be near another son, Scott, according to the New York Times.

Mr Bailey had been disbarred from practising law over numerous legal disputes including misconduct and died one week before his 88th birthday.

Known for being arrogant and egocentric throughout his legal career that lasted more than four decades, he was also regarded as bold, brilliant, meticulous and tireless in the defence of his clients.

During a 1981 interview, he said: “The legal profession is a business with a tremendous collection of egos.

Dr Sam Sheppard
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Dr Sam Sheppard was convicted in 1954 for murdering his wife

“Few people who are not strong egotistically gravitate to it.”

Some of his other high-profile clients included Captain Ernest Medina, who was charged in connection with the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, and Carl A Coppolino, who allegedly injected his victims with a paralyzing drug.

Capt. Ernest Medina, a key figure in the 1968 My Lai massacre
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Captain Ernest Medina, a key figure in the 1968 My Lai massacre, was one of Mr Bailey’s clients

J Albert Johnson, Mr Bailey’s long-time legal partner and childhood friend, said: “I have never known a greater intellect than that possessed by F Lee Bailey.”

Mr Bailey was part of the “dream team” that defended Simpson, the former NFL running back and actor, who was acquitted for the 1994 murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

Simpson described Mr Bailey as the most valuable member of the team in a 1996 article in The Boston Globe Magazine.

bailey with simpson
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F Lee Bailey with OJ Simpson during his murder trial

“He was able to simplify everything and identify what the most vital parts of the case were,” Simpson said.

“Lee laid down what the case’s strategy was, what was going to be important and what was not. I thought he had an amazing grasp of what was going to be the most important parts of the case, and that turned out to be true.”

One of the trial’s most significant moments was when Mr Bailey aggressively cross-examined LA police Detective Mark Fuhrman – attempting to portray him as a racist who was trying to frame Simpson.

Detective Fuhrman denied using racial epithets to the court, but the defence later revealed recordings of him making racist slurs.



Sky News