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Attorney F. Lee Bailey, whose clients included O.J. Simpson, Patty Hearst, Dr. Sam Sheppard, and the confessed Boston Strangler Albert De Salvo, died Thursday in the Atlanta area, his former law partner Kenneth Fishman told The Associated Press. He was 87.
In addition to being a celebrity attorney, Bailey owned an aviation company and was a pilot, author, and television host. While he had many famous clients, Bailey was perhaps best known for his work defending Simpson against murder charges in the mid-1990s. He was part of Simpson's "Dream Team" of high-profile attorneys, and Simpson told The Boston Globe Magazine in 1996 that Bailey "was able to simplify everything and identify what the most vital parts of the case were." Simpson tweeted on Thursday, "I lost a great one. F. Lee Bailey you will be missed."
Bailey was known for being abrasive and seeking publicity, Fishman told AP, adding. "Enjoying the public eye became a tool for him. He was one of the first lawyers to go outside the courtroom and talk in front of a bunch of microphones. All the news about a case was from the prosecution's side. So his strategy was to get out there and throw doubt on all the criminal charges."
In 1996, after Bailey refused to turn over millions of dollars in stock owned by a convicted drug smuggler, he was charged with contempt of court and spent nearly six weeks in federal prison. He was later disbarred in Florida and Massachusetts because of the way he handled the stock.
Bailey was married four times, and had three children; his fourth wife, Patricia, died in 1999. His final book, The Truth About the O.J. Simpson Trial: By The Architect of the Defense, will be released this month.