Thursday, June 03, 2021

RIP F. Lee Bailey

 So sad to hear this news.  He was one of the absolute best.  He just finished a book about the O.J. trial and was so proud of it.  I'm sad that he won't be able to see it out there.  Here are some great pictures of him from two of the biggest trials in history (both wins):


I'm glad that I had the opportunity to recently interview him.  What a character.  What a lawyer.  

This exchange shows the fire he still had at 88 years old, and I hope he had the chance to pee on this guy's grave!


Anonymous said...

It's interesting that he said he was so sure of OJ's innocence that he would have, if the option existed, asked the jury to find him "innocent" and not just "not guilty." I would like to have heard his thoughts on the fact that OJ was found, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have killed Nicole and Ron Goldman.

Robert Kuntz said...

Through an odd set of circumstances, the very first deposition I ever took in a civil case was defended by F. Lee Bailey. I was very junior at a very large firm and the depo was not tremendously consequential (else I’d not have been sent). I entered the lobby of our firm’s Fort Lauderdale office and the receptionist told me that “the lawyer for the witness is already in the conference room.” She might have warned me.

I walked in and there was the unmistakable figure. [As I understood it the boatyard involved in the matter had some arrangement with him respecting a boat he owned and dockage-for-legal fees. Or something. I never quite got the story on why he was on this pedestrian yacht case.]

I introduced myself with my name and he did the same, which I thought showed some humility, as this was very soon after the O.J. trial and anyone who hadn’t know of him before (and I had) certainly knew who he was now. After 13 years as a newsman, I was used to not being (or at least appearing to be) impressed by famous or important people, so I affected as casual an air as I could manage. The witness was late, so we got to chatting. Hometowns came up (it was baseball season), and I mentioned I’d been born in Cleveland.

Lee lit up. “Cleveland!?” he said. “They LOVE me in Cleveland.”

In maybe my best moment of banter ever in a long life of thinking myself pretty clever, I took a beat and said: “Well, Lee, everyone who doesn’t think Sam Sheppard killed his WIFE loves you in Cleveland.”

He took a beat of his own and rewarded me with a really sincere laugh.

The witness arrived, the depo proceeded, Lee Bailey was a gentleman.

I never saw him again, but recently -- thanks to DOM -- had an occasion to correspond with him briefly. I mentioned the incident and he very kindly claimed to remember it.

One of a kind.