Francis Lee Bailey Jr., commonly referred to as F. Lee Bailey, (born June 10, 1933) is an American criminal defense lawyer who served as the lawyer in the Sam Sheppard re-trial. He was also the supervisory attorney over attorney Mark J. Kadish in the court martial of Captain Ernest Medina for the My Lai Massacre, among other high profile trials, and was one of the lawyers for the defense in the O. J. Simpson trial. He has also had a number of visible defeats, legal controversies, and personal trouble with the law, and was disbarred for misconduct while defending his client Claude DuBoc. In spite of his difficulties, he still has a reputation for being a highly successful defense attorney, and is the Chairman and CEO of IMPAC, Integrated Control Systems, Inc., a Florida corporation.
Bailey was born in Waltham, Massachusetts. He went to Cardigan Mountain School and then Kimball Union Academy, graduating in the class of 1950. Bailey studied at Harvard College, but dropped out of Harvard to join the United States Marine Corps in 1952, and received his aviator wings in 1954. He served as a jet fighter pilot and a legal officer. He was discharged in 1956. Bailey received his LL.B. from Boston University, where he was ranked first in his graduating class in 1960.
In 1954, Dr. Sam Sheppard was found guilty in the murder of his wife Marilyn. The case was believed to be the inspiration for the Fugitive television series (1963–1967) and the 1993 movie. Bailey, at the time a resident of Rocky River, Ohio, was hired by Sheppard's brother Stephen to help in his brother'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 the "Green Man" sexual assaults, 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.
Dr. Coppolino was accused of murdering his wife, Dr. Carmela Coppolino (August 28, 1965), and his neighbor Lt. Col. William Farber (July 30, 1963). The prosecution claimed that Coppolino injected his victims with a curare-like substance called succinylcholine chloride, which at the time was undetectable due to limited forensic technology. Bailey, who had just won Sam Sheppard an acquittal in November 1966, successfully defended Coppolino in the New Jersey case over the death of Lt. Col. William Farber in December 1966. However, Coppolino was convicted of murdering his wife in Florida. He was paroled after serving 12 years of his sentence.
The case of Patty Hearst, a newspaper heiress who had been involved in bank robberies after being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), was one of Bailey's defeats. Patty Hearst describes his closing argument in her autobiography as "disjointed" and that she suspected he had been drinking. During his closing argument, Bailey spilled a glass of water on his pants.
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 he never used the word "nigger" to describe blacks at any time during the previous 10 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.
Chantal McCorkle (born 1968, Slough, England) is a British citizen. Along with William, her American husband, she was tried and convicted in 1998 in Florida for her part in a financial fraud. The McCorkles sold kits purporting to show buyers how to get rich by buying property in foreclosures and government auctions. They advertised on infomercials; 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.
She, 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.
Bailey was featured in a RKO television special, in which he conducted a mock trial, examining various expert "witnesses" on the subject of the Paul is Dead rumor. 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.
Bailey's visible public profile has come both as a result of the cases he has taken and for his own personal actions. In 2001 he was disbarred in the state of Florida, with reciprocal disbarment in Massachusetts in 2002. The Florida disbarment was the result of his handling of stock in the DuBoc marijuana case. Bailey was found guilty of 7 counts of attorney misconduct by the Florida Supreme Court. Bailey had transferred a large portion of DuBoc's assets into his own accounts, using the interest gained on those assets to pay for personal expenses. In March 2005, Bailey filed to regain his law license in Massachusetts. The book Florida Pulp Nonfiction details the peculiar facts of the DuBoc case along with extended interviews with Bailey that include his own defense.
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. His assets 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 claimed 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 2000, he 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.
F. Lee Bailey is a famed American defense attorney. He is well-known for his penchant for seeking out the media, as well as the high-profile cases he has been involved in.