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“Dream Team” Lawyer F. Lee Bailey Files for Bankruptcy
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F Lee Bailey, OJ Simpson

F. Lee Bailey (right) with O.J. Simpson and Johnny Cochran at Simpson’s trial. Photo courtesy of Britannica.

Summary: F. Lee Bailey, a once prominent criminal defense attorney, has now filed for bankruptcy. 

F. Lee Bailey, once a member of O.J. Simpson’s Dream Team, filed for bankruptcy. The once prominent criminal defense lawyer found himself in hot water with the government in the 1990s, and eventually the dispute contributed to his disbarment in 2001. The once wealthy lawyer told The Washington Post that his assets now only include a car worth less than two grand, a condo with a mortgage, and some personal property. On the debt side, he owes over $5 million to the IRS with interest growing yearly.

  
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“My tax case finally ran out of string,” Bailey said to The Washington Post, “And there was no option left but to live with the judgments or to get rid of them through bankruptcy.”

Bailey arguably was most famous for his work on the Simpson case, which had renewed public interest after FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson” aired in February. (His character was played by Nathan Lane.) However, the attorney had a prominent career from the 1960s to the 1990s, and he represented high profile clients such as Patty Hearst and the Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo. When he was working as an attorney, he said he collected significant.

But Bailey’s life changed when he made a verbal agreement with the Justice Department to take over the assets of international drug smuggler Claude L. DuBoc. The government was not allowed to own stock, but they did not want the shares of Duboc’s pharmaceutical company to be liquidated as it may destroy the business. Thus they gave the stocks to Bailey to watch, expecting the value to rise and to give the government a huge payday.

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Bailey and his colleague assumed they would be paid by sales of the shares, as they did not receive direct compensation. However, the government said Bailey treated the shares like they were his and that he took for himself way more than his own expenses. Since there was no agreement in writing, the parties went to a federal judge, and in 1996, Bailey was jailed for 44 days until he could pay back the government for money they said he owed. Bailey attempted to countersue the government, but his effort failed. According to him, he had earned the government $50 million, only to be mistreated.

In 2001, Baily was disbarred because of his fight with the government, and the IRS subsequently hunted him down for unpaid taxes. They argued that he owed them money for his mishandling of the pharmaceutical stock. This is what led to his current $5 million debt, which Bailey said accrues 12% interest annually. He believes that his case has not been settled because he is a “celebrity,” and the IRS does not want to look soft on celebrities.



Thus, the once prominent lawyer has now filed for Chapter 7 in Maine, and the bankruptcy allows him to liquidate his assets to repay his debts.

What do you think of Bailey’s story? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Washington Post



 

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