Famed Attorney F. Lee Bailey Discusses Making Legal History

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Some legal legends are on the campus of Duquesne University for the ‘Pioneers of Forensic Science Conference.’

Dr. Cyril Wecht and his son, Ben Wecht, invited some of the nation’s most renowned legal and scientific experts to talk about some of the most famous cases of our time.

F. Lee Bailey, for example, represented Dr. Sam Sheppard, O.J. Simpson, Patty Hearst and many more. He spoke to KDKA Legal Editor, Julie Grant, ahead of his conference presentation on cross examination.

F. Lee Bailey made legal history in 1966, when he successfully argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that Dr. Sam Sheppard did not get a fair trial because of excessive media coverage and the judge’s failure to control the media in the courtroom. Bailey was hired for Sheppard’s appeal and defended him in the second trial.

Bailey said he had something better than forensic evidence when he picked the jury for Sheppard’s retrial.

“There was a show running rampant on TV called ‘The Fugitive.’ It was obvious about Dr. Sam Sheppard. I never asked a single juror do you watch that show and the prosecutor who was not on the ball didn’t ask either. Everybody watched it and everybody knew the fugitive was innocent,” said Bailey.

The jury acquitted Sheppard and that was start of Bailey’s illustrious career.

In 1995, he was part of “the dream team,” representing O.J. Simpson. His cross of Detective Mark Fuhrman is legendary.

“I had only one objective: to show him to be a liar about something,” said Bailey.

We all know Johnny Cochran’s famous phrase, but it was Bailey who challenged Deputy District Attorney Christopher Darden to let Simpson try on the glove.

“And I said well that glove won’t fit O.J. and if you don’t ask him to try it — I will,” said Bailey.

Bailey has seen the FX series “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” and said Nathan Lane did an “excellent” job playing him. The last time he spoke to Simpson was in 2008.

“If he calls me or talks to me he won’t be paroled. He’s been told that,” said Bailey.

This week, Bailey is thinking about Bill Cosby’s trial.

“I’m glad I don’t have the responsibility for it but I will say this. Pennsylvania is a good state in which to stand trial. They generally have good jurors. In this case, there is a good defense lawyer and a good judge. So I am hopeful they system will give him a fair trial and that’s going to be difficult,” said Bailey.

At 83, Bailey said he will never stop learning. When asked what he wishes people would ask him during interviews, he answered, “What do you want to see on your gravestone?” Bailey said he wants it to read, “That I was a good swordsman and a very nice guy.”

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