By Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson
Twenty one years ago, former NFL star O.J. Simpson was acquitted in the 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
With ESPN’s O.J.: Made In America series airing earlier this month, the fascination with the white Ford Bronco chase, the Brentwood, California mansion that Simpson once lived in and of course the lengthy trial made folks relive the 90’s all over again as well as introduce the case of the century to a whole new group of folks that weren’t even born yet.
Famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey, who represented Simpson during the trial, had a successful run as an attorney. Bailey secured a reversal of Dr. Sam Sheppard’s conviction in the murder of his pregnant wife in the 60’s and an acquittal at his second trial and represented Albert DeSalvo, who claimed to be the Boston Strangler.
Bailey appeared on the Brown and Scoop podcast last week and weighed in on the recent ESPN documentary.
“I would say generally that everything that related to his guilt or innocence wasn’t worth your time to watch it,” Bailey told Jake Brown and I on Brown and Scoop. “It was a bunch of bottom-feeding witnesses that wanted to get into the case; neither side wanted them and except for Ron Shipp, who was a disaster, they didn’t get in the case.”
Bailey along with Robert Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Kardashian, Gerald Uelmen, Carl E. Douglas and Johnnie Cochran were dubbed Simpson’s Dream Team. Something that Bailey disagrees with.
“No. Well, because it had some good lawyers, some not so good,” said Bailey. “Johnnie Cochran tried his best to keep an even keel in the atmosphere of the courtroom we were working in. That wasn’t very easy and he was not always successful. Although Johnnie was a very good lawyer, I enjoyed working with him and became his good friend, but apart from that the dream team was not as well coordinated as it should have been and the work was not apportioned out on a very thoughtful basis in my view.”
According to Bailey, he respected Simpson’s case judge, Judge Lance Ito, but found him to be a bit passive.
“Every time the prosecution came to him and look we got another juror and we don’t like you, he would take them off,” said Bailey. “The problem with that was and here’s the key to the Simpson case, here’s what would have made it different. Not Fuhrman taking the fifth and testifying, but this one item. We had cracker jack witnesses lined up, which would have turned the public back in the right direction.”
Bailey contends that he was not surprised by the final verdict of the Simpson case either. He also stated on Brown and Scoop that before Simpson was acquitted, prison guards were getting autographs by the retired football player because the talk around town was that he’d be let off for the murders of Brown and Goldman.
“I was never surprised,” said Bailey. “I forecasted to anyone who would listen and many of them snickered at me, but sure enough when the verdict came in they are not the kind of people that would say I was wrong, they said the jury was wrong, they were racist. They were prejudice. It was a sad display of American culture trying to defend its wrongheadedness.”
Bailey also shared with Brown and Scoop why both he and fellow Simpson defense attorney are no longer friendly.
“Shapiro sandbagged me,” said Bailey. “He brought me in to manage the preparation of the case and to cross-examine Fuhrman, who emerged early on as the prime witness in the case. Without Fuhrman, the case doesn’t even go to the jury and he said as much on the tapes. He said they can’t throw me off the case. Without me there’s no glove. Without the glove, this case goes bye bye. They don’t have anything else and they’re going to have to put up with me. They didn’t think I would have to bury him. He settled off to the northern part of Idaho where racist cops like to hang out together.”
Bailey, 83, was disbarred in the state of Florida in 2001 over mishandling client assets. Massachusetts followed Florida’s lead and also issued a disbarment in 2003. He made headlines over the weekend when according to the Portland Press Herald Newspaper, he filed for bankruptcy from a debt that stems from a dispute of his reportable income from 1993 to 2001.
Brandon Robinson is a sports and entertainment writer and TV personality. You can catch him daily on CBS Radio’s Play.it Brown And Scoop Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SCOOPB and visit www.ScoopB.com and ScoopBRadio.com