The controversial defense attorney, famous for taking on OJ Simpson and other high-profile clients, died Thursday at 87-years-old.
Jennifer Sisson, a manager at F. Lee Bailey’s consulting firm, confirms his death Thursday to CNN. The prolific and oft-scorned attorney was best known for his participation with – and wins for – “unwinnable” clients such as Simpson. He died in Atlanta, with Sisson describing her boss as “a great man.”
According to the New York Times, Bailey’s son, Bendrix, says his father had been in “poor health in recent years and living in Georgia to be near another son, Scott.”
Bailey had been in hospice care for quite some time, but his son does not specify a cause of death.
“I lost a great one. F. Lee Bailey you will be missed,” Simpson posts Thursday to Twitter. Within is a video of the former client discussing Bailey’s career, describing him as “one of the great lawyers of our time.”
“I called him Flee, he hated it,” Simpson laughs. “This was the week he finally finished a book he wanted to write before his life was over… And it was a book about my trial,” the former NFL star turned oft-criminal defendant reveals.
“Best lawyer of our time, of our generation. A great guy.”
From OJ Simpson to The Boston Strangler: F. Lee Bailey’s Unimaginable Courtroom History
Among his many controversial, if not damning cases was the media-circus of OJ’s 1994 acquittal of murder charges of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in 1995.
The New York Times describes him as “an audacious, larger-than-life defender in the traditions of Clarence Darrow and Edward Bennett Williams, producing lawyerly entertainment long before Court TV or reality television shows.”
Bailey is also famous for successfully defending Army Captain Ernest Medina against his court martial charges in the Vietnam War’s My Lai Massacre.
Illustrious wins aside, Bailey did not always come away victorious. He failed to keep kidnapped publishing heiress Patty Hearst out of prison for her bank robbery. He too, saw defeat after his “insanity defense plea” for the Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo.
F. Lee Bailey would also suffer his own charges for contempt of court citations. The public watched as he was put into handcuffs in 2001. A disbarment followed for misappropriating millions of dollars.
Yet he will live on forever in connection to OJ Simpson‘s infamous 1995 murder trial. Part of a “dream team” of lawyers including Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., Alan M. Dershowitz, Barry Scheck and Robert L. Shapiro, Bailey’s cross-examination of Detective Mark Fuhrman wound up key to Simpson’s acquittal.
Another of Simpson’s lawyers, Howard Weitzman, also died in 2021.