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F. Lee Bailey, bankrupt, disbarred, says he, too, is a victim of the O.J. Simpson ‘curse’

There is just one of of the surviving attorneys who defended O.J. Simpson of murder charges who will still proclaims his innocence. That’s F. Lee Bailey, who was once one of the most famous criminal defense attorney in America — besides Perry Mason.
But being Simpson’s “last one standing” defender probably hasn’t helped Bailey reverse some of his own bad choices and legal scandals that contributed to his devastating downfall and left him at age 83 bankrupt, disbarred and working above a hair salon in a small town in Maine.
As O.J. Simpson returns to the public spotlight in a Nevada parole board hearing Thursday to ask to be released from a 33-year sentence for assault and armed robbery, Bailey is also back in the news. He’s the subject of a profile in Town & Country magazine that chronicles his  post-O.J. plummet from wealth and fame.
“I won’t say it’s depressing, because I don’t think I ever get depressed,” Bailey told writer Town & Country writer Andrew Goldman.
F. Lee Bailey in an interview in 2011. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach) 
Bailey’s other Simpson colleagues did all right for themselves career-wise. Johnnie Cochran, the lead defense attorney of the so-called “Dream Team,” earned up to $5 million from helping to win Simpson’s acquittal on double murder charges and went on to defend other high-profile defendants until he died of a brain tumor in 2005. Simpson’s DNA expert Barry Scheck gained international respect as the founder of the Innocence Project, and Robert Shapiro continues to represent celebrity clients, most recently Rob Kardashian Jr. in his custody battle with Blac Chyna.
Once upon a time, Bailey enjoyed international respect for his legal prowess. He was on the cover of magazines for fighting all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn the conviction of Sam Sheppard, a neurosurgeon imprisoned for killing his pregnant wife and whose case would inspire the movie “The Fugitive.” Bailey also defended Albert DeSalvo, accused but never prosecuted for being “The Boston Strangler,” as well as fugitive newspaper heiress Patty Hearst.
Such cases also brought Bailey enormous wealth, which he used to support four wives and to buy a mansion, luxury cars, a helicopter and a private jet.
But last year, Bailey filed for bankruptcy after decades of scandals inside and outside the courtroom left him disbarred. At one point, he was accused of misappropriating funds from his defense of an alleged drug dealer. Pretty much all he was left with was a 1999 Mercedes station wagon.
These days, Bailey runs a consulting business above a hair salon in Yarmouth, Maine, which is operated by his current girlfriend, Debbie Elliot, a curvaceous 62-year-old blonde. HIs office is decorated with models of jets he once owned.
Bailey has tried to practice law again, after being disbarred first in Florida and then in Massachusetts, where he first began practicing in 1961. After Bailey moved to Maine he took the bar exam at age 79.
“I passed it at the top of the pack,” he told Town & Country. But Maine’s bar association rejected him.
Alan Dershowitz, another famed attorney who was a colleague from the Simpson case, believes Bailey is paying the price for defending the NFL football legend, who was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
“Without a doubt,” said Dershowitz, who has known Bailey for 40 years. “I think it was a major factor in the vindictive way in which he’s been treated.”
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” added Dershowitz.“I have seen lawyers who have done so much worse allowed back in after a couple of years.”
Bailey won’t object to that view, saying, “People at every level, judges on down, pointed the finger and said, ‘If you hadn’t prostituted your talents for this guy, he would have gone to jail.'”
Still, he continues to proclaim Simpson’s innocence, unlike other attorneys who, according to Dershowitz, more or less “play he game” of saying they never knew whether Simpson was guilty or innocent; they just wanted to give him the best possible defense.
Bailey truly believes Simpson didn’t do it. Moreover, he admitted to Town & Country that he sees something of himself in Simpson’s fate: a great man brought low by false accusations.
“I don’t think he got fairly treated, and I don’t think I got fairly treated,” Bailey said. “If that’s not a level of kinship, it’s certainly a level of identity. We have the O.J. curse in common, to a degree.”

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