Florida Supreme Court disbars F. Lee Bailey
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The Florida Supreme Court ordered Wednesday that defense attorney F. Lee Bailey, who gained prominence through high-profile cases such as the O.J. Simpson trial, be disbarred from practicing law in the state.
The order, issued in Tallahassee, takes effect in 30 days. Bailey can accept no new business during that time.
The Florida Bar had filed a complaint against Bailey, alleging seven counts of misconduct related to the lawyer's handling of stock worth nearly $6 million owned by a former client, convicted drug dealer Claude Duboc.
Bailey initially had said the stock was meant as payment for his services, but later gave up control and spent six months in federal prison for contempt of court.
According to the court, the stock was given to Bailey for a limited period, and he was to use the funds to deal with the forfeiture of Duboc's French properties and other assets. Ultimately, the U.S. government was to benefit when the value of the stock increased.
Instead, Bailey commingled some of the funds with his own.
"We conclude that regardless of the manner in which he was to hold the stock, Bailey is guilty of the most serious and basic trust account violations," the court said.
"Bailey has committed multiple counts of egregious conduct, including offering false testimony, engaging in ex parte communications, violating a client's confidences, violating two federal court orders and trust account violations, including commingling and misappropriation," the court added.
It also pointed to a pattern of misconduct, as reported by the Florida Bar, including a censure in Massachusetts in 1970.
Among Bailey's other prominent clients were Samuel Sheppard, a doctor who was accused of murdering his wife, and who became the inspiration for the television series and movie "The Fugitive."
He also represented Capt. Ernest Medina in his court-martial over the massacre at My Lai during the Vietnam War.
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