At 77 years of age, trial attorney, F. Lee Bailey can look back at an illustrious career. In his heyday he was the lawyer you wanted by your side if you were facing serious criminal charges. Bailey was counsel in many high-profile cases, and usually attracted media attention, but the pinnacle of his career was his defence of O. J. Simpson.
Some 15 years ago, star athlete Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his estranged wife, Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. The acquittal was met with outrage by many people, while his fans were filled with glee.
Bailey ran into some trouble after the O. J. case and was eventually disbarred. (See my earlier post dated August 1, 2010). He is now in his next career as a consultant in the aviation industry ( his great success provided an earlier lifestyle that included boats and planes) and as a polygraph expert.
It appears that some time ago Bailey shopped around a book proposal called “The Simpson Verdict” which never found a publisher. This week he put the 46 page proposal on his website for the world to see. The main theme of his writing is that if Bailey’s co-counsel Johnny Cochrane, (now deceased) had not nixed the testimony of four witnesses, O. J.’s acquittal would have been accepted by the public at large and he would not have been vilified by them or the press.
So… who were the witnesses? Apparently, Cochrane decided not to call an expert on battered women. Frankly, I’m not surprised because Vancouver expert Dr. Don Dutton was called by the prosecution and delivered his evidence cogently and convincingly.
Cochrane also did not call his forensic scientist or blood expert witness to testify. Lawyers make decisions during a trial that ebb and flow with how the evidence is rolling out. Good lawyers do not call witnesses just because they have them available. They assess the evidence called by the prosecution and determine if it is best only to challenge that evidence through cross-examination, if at all. Every time a new witness takes the stand a lawyer opens an opportunity for his or her case to be trashed, rather than enhanced.
Lastly, Bailey identifies a man he calls the “dog walker” who he says could have testified that he saw a woman on the evening of the murder who resembled Nicole Brown. She was involved in a heated discussion with two men, neither of whom he could identify or testify as excluding O. J. Simpson. Bailey says that this witness would have turned the case around such that Simpson’s legal acquittal would have been accepted by the Court of Public Opinion.
Bailey also complains that he was blamed for Simpson’s acquittal by the “rednecks of America”. There is nobody I know who believes that Simpson did not kill his wife, but after all, we’re just a bunch of rednecks.
In my view, Bailey’s theory is utter nonsense. The truth of the matter is that the Simpson jury could not understand the DNA evidence which placed O. J. at the murder scene. DNA was new science that was first introduced in 1987, only seven years before the O. J. trial. None of the witnesses that Bailey asserts would have changed Simpson’s case, mattered a whit. O. J.’s blood did him in, coupled with a jury that didn’t get it!
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang