F. Lee Bailey died at the age of 87, on June 3, 2021.
In 2001, Florida tossed him from the bar for taking millions of dollars in trial compensation that the government claimed was not his, and two years later, the state of Massachusetts, where he began practicing in 1961, reciprocally disbarred him.
Since when is Florida responsible for setting America's legal standards? Anybody remember Bush v. Gore, and the role that Florida had in that fiasco?
Bailey moved to Maine, in 2012, and at the age of 79, walked into a classroom and took the bar exam. "I didn't work that hard, and I passed it at the top of the pack," Bailey said-but then Maine's bar rejected him as well. Bailey was broke and unable to settle a $5.2 million tax bill, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, disclosing that all he had to his name was a gold 1999 Mercedes station wagon worth less than $2,000, sundry effects worth around five grand, and a modest condo in Yarmouth on which he carried a $365,000 mortgage.
One of America's most celebrated lawyers was disbarred, yet people like Rudy Giuliani, Matt Gaetz, Alan Dershowitz and Ted Cruz are still lawyers. Does that make any sense to any reasonable person?
Even Alan Dershowitz believes that Bailey was made to suffer for OJ Simpson's acquittal. "Without a doubt," Dershowitz said. "I think it was a major factor in the vindictive way in which he's been treated." Bailey also sees the beginning of his own end in the Simpson acquittal. "People at every level, judges on down, pointed the finger and said, "If you hadn't prostituted your talents for this guy, he would have gone to jail.'" That always disgusted F. Lee Bailey, and that is why he constantly sought to set the record straight by trying to expose the truth about yet another innocent man who was falsely accused for having allegedly murdered a spouse, former or otherwise.
The fact is, Simpson was a acquitted by a jury of his peers and it is anybody who cannot accept that, who should be disgraced, disbarred and/or removed from the bench.
Shame on America.
According to Bailey, Faye Resnick, Nicole Brown Simpson's frequent houseguest, who happened to be holed up in rehab for cocaine addiction on the night of the murder, was the intended target of a drug-related hit. His investigators uncovered evidence that Resnick owed drug dealers $30,000, and that is why Resnick was targeted.
"We think the killers came to look for Faye Resnick, who was also blond, and, typical of hitmen, they were dumb enough to mistake Nicole for Faye Resnick," Bailey said. He dismisses as "doctored" the overwhelming photographic evidence offered in the civil trial of dozens of images of Simpson wearing the Bruno Magli loafers-the "ugly-ass shoes" Simpson denied under oath ever owning-shoes whose distinctive bloody tread marks were all over the crime scene.
Everybody doubts a truthteller.
Is it any wonder that Bailey identified with Simpson: a great man brought low by false accusations. "I don't think he got fairly treated, and I don't think I got fairly treated," Bailey said. "If that's not a level of kinship, it's certainly a level of identity. We have the O.J. curse in common, to a degree."
Yes indeed, in this world, everybody doubts a truthteller.
F. Lee Bailey couldn't practice law anymore, but he could still write about it. With his new book "The Truth About the O.J. Simpson Trial," he planned to take his case to you. He just ran out of time, but censoring the zeal to keep the actual truth about O.J. Simpson as mute as possible is not acceptable.
Truth is hard to grasp if you are not aware. According to J. Albert Johnson, Bailey's former law partner, "He's just brilliant, that's all. I couldn't keep up with this guy. Most of us mortals are lucky to go 20 miles an hour. Lee Bailey's brain goes a thousand miles an hour, so quick that he becomes frustrated with those who cannot keep up." Indeed, Bailey scored 162 on two childhood IQ tests-a number higher than Albert Einstein's.
In the mid-1960s Bailey won a reversal for Sam Sheppard, a doctor who was in prison for killing his wife in one of US's most important murder trials; the case that provided the inspiration for the hit television show and film The Fugitive. Bailey convinced the jury to acquit an innocent man, and he did it through his characteristic intellect.
Indeed, Bailey fought all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn the conviction of Sam Sheppard and he did it at a time when the US Supreme Court was credible.
Even Bailey's last legal stand in a Portland, Maine, courtroom in March 2013 where he sparred with assistant attorney general, Thomas Knowlton, demonstrated his unrivalled ability to explain the simple truth.
"So you would agree, Mr. Bailey, that you misappropriated roughly $3 million?" Knowlton asked. "No, sir," Bailey responded. "Because misappropriated is a word used in criminal law, which is the equivalent of larceny, and that takes an intent." Knowlton regrouped, gave the legend another shot. "At the end of the day, Mr. Bailey, it's fair to say that you spent $3 million that didn't belong to you?" Bailey responded, "I spent $3 million that has been adjudged was not mine. At the time I spent it, I had a reasonable belief that it was mine."
Judge Alexander ruled in Bailey's favor, but in April of the following year the Maine Supreme Judicial Court reversed the ruling and voted four to three against the famed attorney. "Bailey," it wrote, "minimizes the wrongfulness and seriousness of the misconduct for which he was disbarred."
On the contrary, Bailey was acquitted by a judge and ruined by arrogant authoritarians who are a dime a dozen in democracies where the rule of law is failing the majority.
Rest in peace, F. Lee Bailey. Your legend and your star continues to burn bright.
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