F. Lee Bailey
F. Lee Bailey
Bailey in 1993
Francis Lee Bailey Jr.
June 10, 1933
Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Residence||Yarmouth, Maine, U.S.|
|Employer||Bailey & Elliott Consulting|
|Known for||Defense attorney for
(m. 1960; div. 1961)
Froma Portney (div. 1972)
(m. 1972; div. 1980)
(m. 1985; died 1999)
|Service/||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1952–1956|
For most of his career he was licensed in Florida and in Massachusetts, where he was disbarred in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Among other high-profile trials, he served as the lawyer in the re-trial of osteopathic physician Sam Sheppard, was the supervisory attorney over attorney Mark J. Kadish in the court martial of Captain Ernest Medina for the My Lai Massacre, and was one of the "dream team" lawyers for the defense in the O. J. Simpson murder case.
He was disbarred in Massachusetts and Florida for misconduct while defending his client Claude DuBoc. In 2014, he was denied a law license by the Maine Board of Bar Examiners and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Notable cases
- 3 Television career
- 4 Personal legal issues and professional status
- 5 In popular culture
- 6 Publications
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Bailey was born in Waltham, Massachusetts. His mother was a teacher and nursery school director, and his father an advertising salesman. His parents divorced when he was ten. Bailey attended Cardigan Mountain School and then Kimball Union Academy, where he graduated in 1950. He studied at Harvard University but dropped out in 1952 to join the United States Marine Corps. Bailey was commissioned as an officer and, following flight training, received his Naval Aviator wings in 1954. He served as a jet fighter pilot, and then began to serve as a squadron legal officer.
He briefly returned to Harvard before being admitted to Boston University School of Law in 1957, which accepted his military experience in lieu of the requirement for students to have completed at least three years of undergraduate college courses. While attending Boston University he achieved the highest grade point average in the school's history. He graduated with an LL.B. in 1960 and was ranked first in his class.
In 1954, Sam Sheppard was found guilty in the murder of his wife Marilyn. The case is regarded as one of the inspirations for the television series The Fugitive (1963–1967). In the 1960s Bailey, at the time a resident of Rocky River, Ohio, was hired by Sheppard's brother Stephen to help in Sheppard's appeal. In 1966, Bailey successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that Sheppard had been denied due process, winning a re-trial. A not guilty verdict followed. This case established Bailey's reputation as a skilled defense attorney and was the first of many high-profile cases.
While defendant Albert DeSalvo was in jail for a series of sexual assaults known as the "Green Man" incidents, he confessed his guilt in the "Boston Strangler" murders to Bailey. DeSalvo was found guilty of the assaults but was never tried for the stranglings.
Carl A. Coppolino
Carl A. Coppolino was accused of the July 30, 1963, murder of retired Army Col. William Farber, his neighbor and the husband of Marjorie Farber, with whom Coppolino was having an affair. He was also accused of the August 28, 1965, murder of his wife, Carmela Coppolino. The prosecution claimed that Coppolino injected his victims with a paralyzing drug called succinylcholine chloride, which at the time was undetectable due to limited forensic technology. Bailey successfully defended Coppolino in the New Jersey case over the death of Farber in December 1966. However, Coppolino was convicted of murdering his wife in Florida. He was paroled after serving 12 years of his sentence.
Bailey attended Keeler Polygraph Institute in Chicago, where he became an expert in lie detector tests. It was in this capacity that he was enlisted by the defense in the case of George Edgerly, a mechanic charged with murdering his wife. When Edgerly's attorney was incapacitated by a heart attack, Bailey took over the defense. Edgerly—whose story was one of several that served as the basis for the television series and film The Fugitive—was acquitted.
Bailey successfully defended U.S. Army Captain Ernest Medina in his 1971 court-martial for responsibility in the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. Medina was court-martialed for allegedly allowing the men in the company he commanded to murder My Lai non-combatants. Medina claimed that he never gave orders to kill non-combatants, and that his men killed non-combatants of their own volition. Medina also testified that he was unable to stop the massacre because he did not become aware of it until it was too late. Medina additionally denied personally killing any Vietnamese non-combatants at My Lai, with the exception of a young woman whom two soldiers testified that they had found hiding in a ditch. When she emerged with her hands held up, Medina shot her because, as he claimed at his court-martial, he thought she had a grenade. Medina was acquitted, and subsequently left the Army. He later worked at an Enstrom Helicopter Corporation plant in which Bailey had an ownership stake.
The prosecution of Patty Hearst, a newspaper heiress who had committed armed bank robberies after being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), was one of Bailey's defeats. In her autobiography Hearst described his closing argument as "disjointed" and said that she suspected he had been drinking. During his closing argument, Bailey spilled a glass of water on his pants. Hearst was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. She served 22 months before her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. She was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001.
While Hearst was convicted at trial, Bailey did protect her from a further death-penalty prosecution. On April 28, 1975, members of the SLA had robbed a Crocker Bank branch in Carmichael, California. Hearst drove one of the getaway cars. A customer was killed when one of the robbers' gun discharged. The Symbionese Liberation Army members participating in the robbery were therefore subject to the death penalty under the felony murder rule. Bailey negotiated with prosecutors for Hearst to receive immunity in exchange for her testimony about the Carmichael robbery, thus protecting her from a possible death sentence.
In 1994, while the O. J. Simpson case was being tried, Bailey and Robert Shapiro represented Claude DuBoc, an accused marijuana dealer. In a plea bargain agreement with the U.S. Attorney, DuBoc agreed to turn over his assets to the U.S. government. These included a large block of stock in BioChem, worth approximately $6 million at the time of the plea deal. When the government sought to collect the stock, it had increased in value to $20 million. Bailey said he was entitled to the appreciation in payment of his legal fees. Since he had used the stock as collateral for loans, he was unable to turn over the stock to the government. In 1996, Bailey was sent to prison for contempt. After 44 days at the Federal Correctional Institution, Tallahassee, Bailey's brother succeeded in raising the money to enable him to return the stock, and he was freed.
O. J. Simpson
Bailey joined the O. J. Simpson defense team just before the preliminary hearing. Bailey held numerous press conferences to discuss the progress of the case. In a press conference prior to his cross-examination of Mark Fuhrman, Bailey said, "Any lawyer in his right mind who would not be looking forward to cross-examining Mark Fuhrman is an idiot." His famous cross-examination of Fuhrman is considered by many to be the key to Simpson's acquittal. In front of a jury composed predominantly of people of color, Bailey got the detective to claim, "marine to marine", he never used the word nigger to describe blacks at any time during the previous ten years, a claim the defense team easily found evidence to refute. Ultimately, the statement that Bailey drew from the detective forced Fuhrman to plead the Fifth in his next courtroom appearance, thereby undermining his credibility with the jury and the otherwise devastating evidence he allegedly found. Bailey also attracted minor attention for keeping a silver flask on the defense table, which fellow defense attorney Robert Kardashian claimed contained only coffee.
William and Chantal McCorkle
Chantal McCorkle, along with her American husband William, was tried and convicted in 1998 in Florida for her part in a financial fraud. The McCorkles sold kits, advertised in infomercials, purporting to show buyers how to get rich by buying property in foreclosures and government auctions. Among the grounds for their conviction was their representation in the infomercials that they owned luxury automobiles and airplanes (actually rented for the commercials), and their use of purported testimonials from satisfied customers, who were actually paid actors.
Chantal, represented by Mark Horwitz, and her husband, represented by Bailey, were each originally sentenced to over 24 years in federal prison under mandatory sentencing laws. After two appeals, the McCorkles' sentences were reduced in 2006 to 18 years.
Korean Air Lines Flight 007
A strike to Bailey's credibility came when he took on the case of aggrieved families of passengers on Korean Air Lines Flight 007, which was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1983. Though he made several public statements attesting to his commitment to the case, his law firm put in a much smaller number of hours on the case than did the two other law firms working on it. He aggravated other clients by traveling to Libya to discuss defending two men who were charged with blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, even after undertaking the cause of the relatives of that bombing's victims. To the latter, the expedition to Tripoli was a clear conflict of interest; Bailey denied that he intended to defend the Libyans, though a letter he had written to the U.S. government suggested otherwise.
Koscot Interplanetary and Dare to be Great were multi-level marketing companies owned by Glenn W. Turner. In 1973, Turner, Bailey and eight others were indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy and mail fraud charges. The indictment said that Bailey had appeared in a film made for Turner's organization and had appeared with Turner at several rallies. A nine-month trial ended in a hung jury. Charges were then dropped against Bailey. In 1975, Turner pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of violating securities laws and was given probation.
"Paul is dead"
Bailey was featured in an RKO television special in which he conducted a mock trial, examining various expert witnesses on the subject of the "Paul is dead" rumor referring to Beatle Paul McCartney. One of the experts was Fred LaBour, whose article in The Michigan Daily had been instrumental in the spread of the urban legend. LaBour told Bailey during a pre-show meeting that he had made the whole thing up. Bailey responded, "Well, we have an hour of television to do. You're going to have to go along with this." The program aired locally in New York City on November 30, 1969, and was never re-aired.
In 1967, Bailey became host of the short-lived television series Good Company, a series in which he would interview celebrities in their homes, a format similar to Edward R. Murrow Person to Person. In 1983, Bailey again became a television host, when he was named the host of a short-lived syndicated television show called Lie Detector. Guests were questioned by Bailey and were then submitted to a polygraph test.
Personal legal issues and professional status
Drunk driving case
On February 28, 1982, Bailey was arrested for drunk driving in California. He was acquitted, thanks in large part to the defense conducted by Robert Shapiro, who employed Bailey on the O.J. Simpson criminal defense team some twelve years later. The drunk driving trial so enraged Bailey that he wrote a book, How to Protect Yourself Against Cops in California and Other Strange Places, which alleged serious abuses by police and argued that driving under the influence of alcohol had become "a number, not a condition". He furthermore asserted that political pressure had motivated police to go after celebrities in particular.
Bailey's high public profile has come both as a result of the cases he has taken and his own actions. In 2001, he was disbarred in the state of Florida, with reciprocal disbarment in Massachusetts on April 11, 2003. The Florida disbarment was the result of his handling of shares in a pharmaceutical company named Biochem Pharma during his representation of marijuana dealer Claude DuBoc. Bailey had transferred a large portion of DuBoc's assets into his own accounts. The stock, worth about $5.9 million, was supposed to be included in the forfeiture of assets that DuBoc made as part of a plea bargain. It had been held by Bailey because it would be sold immediately if it came into government possession, but it was expected to rise dramatically in value. Bailey later refused to turn it over, saying that it was payment of his legal fees and not part of DuBoc's asset forfeiture. In addition, Bailey said that the stock was collateral for loans that he had received, and so could not be sold until the loans were repaid. These arguments were rejected by the court; the stock rose in value to about $20 million, and Bailey then argued that, if he turned over the stock so that it could be sold, he was entitled to keep the difference between what it was valued at when he received it and its new, higher price. After Bailey was imprisoned for six weeks in 1996 for contempt of court, his brother raised the money that enabled Bailey to turn the stock over to the government, and he was released. He was later found guilty of seven counts of attorney misconduct by the Florida Supreme Court, and in 2001 he was disbarred. Massachusetts disbarred Bailey two years later.
In early 2003, a judge ordered Bailey to pay $5 million in taxes and penalties on income connected with the Duboc case, but the judge later reversed the decision, although Bailey still had an unpaid tax bill of nearly $2 million, which he disputed. In March 2005, Bailey filed to regain his law license in Massachusetts but failed.
Application to practice law in the state of Maine
In 2009, Bailey moved to Yarmouth, Maine, where he was a partner in the Bailey & Elliott consulting business with his girlfriend Debbie Elliott. In 2012, Bailey passed the Maine bar examination and applied for a law license; the Maine Board of Bar Examiners voted 5–4 to deny his application. The majority said Bailey had not proved by "clear and convincing evidence that he possesses the requisite honesty and integrity" to practice law. Bailey appealed, petitioning the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to review the denial. In March 2013, a two-day hearing was held by Supreme Judicial Court Justice Donald G. Alexander in which Bailey's suitability to practice law was examined. Justice Alexander filed a 57-page ruling on April 19, 2013, stating that Bailey "was almost fit to practice law, except for an outstanding tax debt of nearly $2 million". Bailey was allowed to move for reconsideration of the decision "if [he] offer[ed] a plan to repay the nearly $2 million he owes in back taxes to the federal government". Initially, the government had claimed that Bailey owed $4 million in back taxes. However, representing himself before the tax court, Bailey was successful in having the amount owed reduced to $2 million.
In June 2013, Bailey's attorney, Peter DeTroy, filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision. After oral arguments were heard on the reconsideration, Justice Alexander granted the motion, stating that "[a] general survey of the state precedent on the debt payment issue suggests that the existence of a debt, by itself, may not result in a finding of lack of good moral character...Rather, findings of failure of proof of good moral character tend to be based on misconduct regarding effort — or lack of effort — to pay the debt, or misconduct referencing the debt payment obligation in the bar admission process." This cleared the way for Bailey to obtain a Maine law license. However, Maine's Board of Bar Examiners appealed Justice Alexander's decision to the entire Supreme Court, minus Alexander.
On April 10, 2014, the Maine Supreme Court voted 4-to-2 to side with the Bar Examiners and reverse Justice Alexander's decision, which continued to prevent Bailey from practicing law in Maine.
As of 2016, Bailey continues to reside in Maine and operate the Bailey & Elliott consulting business.
In popular culture
He is portrayed by Nathan Lane in American Crime Story: The O. J Simpson Trial for FX.
- Aronson, Harvey (co-author) (1971). The Defense Never Rests. Stein and Day. ISBN 0-8128-1441-X.
- For the Defense. Atheneum. 1975. ISBN 0-689-10667-X.
- Greeya, John (co-author) (1977). Cleared for the Approach: In Defense of Flying. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-136663-7.
- How to Protect Yourself Against Cops in California and Other Strange Places. Stein & Day. 1982. ISBN 0-8128-2891-7.
- Fishman, Kenneth J.(Co-author) (2013). Excellence in Cross-Examination. Thomson West. ISBN 0-3146-2126-1.
- Gallery, publisher (1972). (In October 1972, Bailey became "the showcase publisher of Gallery", a new magazine based on Playboy and Penthouse, but later dropped out as publisher.)
- Collins, Louise Mooney; Speace, Geri J. (1995). Newsmakers, The People Behind Today's Headlines. New York: Gale Research Inc. pp. 20–23. ISBN 0-8103-5745-3.
- "Bailey, F. Lee". Notable Biographies.
- Rosenblatt, Joel (June 27, 2016). "F. Lee Bailey, lawyer for O.J., files for bankruptcy". The Detroit News. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
Earlier in his life, Bailey won a scholarship to Harvard University and left in 1952 to join the U.S. Marine Corps as a fighter pilot, according to West’s Encyclopedia of American Law.
- Wilkes, Paul (September 20, 1970). "F. Lee Bailey, Headhunter". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
...Bailey divided his time between his primary duty as a jet fighter pilot and a collateral duty he had asked for — legal officer for the 2,000 men assigned to the base.
- Current Biography Yearbook, 1967. Bronx, New York: H. W. Wilson. 1968. p. 16.
- "A most-wanted attorney". Orlando Weekly. October 5, 2000.
- Bolino, August C. (2012). Men of Massachusetts: Bay State Contributors to American Society. Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse. p. 548. ISBN 978-1-4759-3375-8.
- Bailey, F. Lee; Aronson, Harvey (September 1, 1972). The Defense Never Rests. New American Library. p. 67. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
More than ten years later, the Sheppard case would serve as a model for the popular television show The Fugitive.
- Dershowitz, Alan M. (1983). The Best Defense. New York, NY: Random House, Inc. p. 385.
- Junger, Sebastian; "A Death In Belmont"; W.W. Norton & Co. Inc, 2006.
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- Patrick Johnson, Scott. Trials of the Century: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture and the Law, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 598. ISBN 978-1-59884-261-6.
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- Review of the News, Volume 6, Issues 40-52. 1971. p. 5.
- Tucker, Spencer C. (2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. Santa Barbara, California: BC-CLIO. p. 735. ISBN 978-1-85109-960-3.
- "Biography of F. Lee Bailey, defense attorney for Ernest Medina". UMKC.edu. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Emerson, Gloria (1972). "Review: Medina, by Mary McCarthy". New York Times Book Review, Volume 2.
- Hearst, Patricia Campbell & Moscow, Alvin, Patty Hearst: Her Own Story, Corgi/Avon, 1988 (p. 442-443) ISBN 0-552-13490-2, previously published as Every Secret Thing (1982)
- Nelson, Jack (October 6, 1999). "Carter Pushes for Pardon of Heiress Hearst". Los Angeles Times.
- Vulliamy, Ed; Arlidge, John (January 20, 2001). "Clinton Grants Full Pardon to Patty Hearst". The Guardian.
- Toobin, Jeffrey. American Heiress. Doubleday, 2016, p. 230.
- Toobin 2016, pg. 230, 232.
- Toobin 2016, pg. 231.
- Toobin 2016, pg. 233.
- Toobin 2016, pg. 295.
- "F. Lee Bailey Biography, O.J. Simpson Trial". UMKC.edu. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
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- Johnson, Allie (November 9, 2000). "Chantal's Angels". The Pitch. Archived from the original on July 3, 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Judge cuts couple's jail term". Orlando Sentinel. March 25, 2006. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016.
- "Turner, Bailey Face Conspiracy Charges". The Dispatch. United Press International (UPI). May 19, 1973.
- Roy, Roger (August 17, 1987). "Glenn Turner -- Out Of Luck; Fraud Sentencing May Be His Day Of Reckoning". Orlando Sentinel.
- Bruce Spizer (April 2004). "Paul McCartney Admits Beatles Planned Death Hoax". Beatle.net.
- Richard Harrington (April 21, 1994). "Yesterday, the Hoaxes Seemed So Far Away : Books: Andru J. Reeve's 'Turn Me On, Dead Man' relives America's obsession with Paul McCartney's rumored demise". Los Angeles Times.
- Glenn, Allen (November 11, 2009). "Paul is dead (said Fred)". Michigan Today. Archived from the original on December 28, 2010.
- Patterson, R. Gary (1998). The Walrus Was Paul: The Great Beatle Death Clues. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-684-85062-7.
- "Good Company TV Show: News, Videos, Full Episodes and more". TVGuide.com. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
- "Lie Detector Cast and Characters". TVGuide.com. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
- Doherty, Robert (March 7, 1983). "Fails to qualify for 'Lie Detector' TV show | UPI Archives". UPI. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
The program, hosted by lawyer F. Lee Bailey, features people who take polygraph tests to verify their stories, frequently related to their personal or legal problems.
- Norman, Bob (October 5, 2000). "A most-wanted attorney". Orlando Weekly. Archived from the original on August 12, 2011.
- "IN THE MATTER OF F. LEE BAILEY". Mass.gov. Archived from the original on August 31, 2004.
- "F. Lee Bailey Disbarred In Florida". CBS.com. November 21, 2001.
- Silverman, Ira; Dannen, Fredric (March 11, 1996). "A Complicated Life". The New Yorker. New York, New York: Condé Nast.
- Associated Press (October 19, 1999). "F. Lee Bailey Faces Ethics Charges Related to Dispute over Millions in Stocks". Globe-News. Amarillo, Texas.
- "After Giving Up Stock, Bailey Freed". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. April 20, 1996.
- Somers, Terri (July 24, 2001). "F. Lee Bailey Trying To Get $14.5 Million". Palm Beach Sun Sentinel.
- Bergstrom, Bill (March 7, 1996). "Bailey In Prison in Battle of Wills". Associated Press.
- "F. Lee Bailey Leaves Jail After Surrendering Stock, Yacht". Los Angeles Times. April 20, 1996.
- "F. Lee Bailey disbarred in Florida". United Press International. November 21, 2001.
- "F. Lee Bailey Loses Bid to Practice Law Again". Los Angeles Times. April 12, 2003.
- Associated Press (AP) (October 25, 2003). "South: Florida: Judge Cancels F. Lee Bailey's Penalty". New York Times.
- "F. Lee Bailey mounts a comeback". NBCNews.com. Associated Press (AP). March 10, 2005. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Bolino, August C. (2012). Men of Massachusetts: Bay State Contributors to American Society. Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse. p. 554. ISBN 978-1-4759-3375-8.
- Hemmerdinger, J. (December 27, 2010). "F. Lee Bailey makes case for fresh start in Maine: "This has been my best year in memory," says the famed lawyer, who moved to Yarmouth last year". Portland Press-Herald. Portland, Maine.
- "F. Lee Bailey Denied Bid to Practice Law in Maine". ABC News. January 1, 2013. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013.
- Dolan, Scott (April 23, 2013). "Judge boosts F. Lee Bailey's bid for Maine law license". Portland Press Herald. Portland, ME.
- Reilly, Peter J. (August 8, 2013). "F. Lee Bailey Two Million Dollar Tax Lien But Still A Mensch". Forbes Magazine. New York: Forbes Media, LLC.
- Harrison, Judy (June 7, 2013). "F. Lee Bailey can practice law in Maine, justice says in reversal of prior ruling". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- Harrison, Judy (Jan 13, 2014). "Disbarred attorney F. Lee Bailey's quest to practice in Maine moves to high court". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved Jan 14, 2014.
- Hudson, David L., Jr. (December 1, 2014). "F. Lee Bailey Loses his Quest to Practice Law Again After Past Misdeeds". ABA Journal.
- Dolan, Scott (April 11, 2014). "Maine's high court denies F. Lee Bailey's bid to return to practicing law". Portland Press Herald. Portland, Maine. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
- F. Lee Bailey v. Board of Bar Examiners (PDF). Maine Supreme Court. April 10, 2014.
- Young, Sage (February 16, 2016). "Where Is F. Lee Bailey Now? The O.J. Simpson Defense Attorney Faced His Own Controversy". Bustle. New York, NY.
- "Playboy and Plagiarism". TIME. October 16, 1972. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2007.
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