Simpson defense lawyers Shapiro, Bailey arguing

January 16, 1995|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- On the last weekend before O.J. Simpson goes on trial for murder, two of his celebrated lawyers are on the outs, with veteran litigator F. Lee Bailey being ejected from Robert L. Shapiro's suite of offices and his name removed from the letterhead of the firm, Mr. Shapiro confirmed.

The third attorney in the former football star's powerhouse legal triumvirate, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., who is not involved in the dispute, is mediating between the two in a rift that has left Mr. Shapiro and his former mentor "not speaking," Mr. Shapiro said yesterday.

Opening statements in the case are scheduled to begin Thursday.

Mr. Shapiro said he does not want Mr. Bailey, a legendary courtroom presence, to take any major role in court, contending that Mr. Bailey's role all along was to be as a consultant, and that he does not want that role to grow in any way.

"It's very painful. . . . I'm glad it's coming out into the open so it can be aired," Mr. Shapiro said.

Exactly what part Mr. Bailey will now play in the case has been left up to Mr. Cochran, Mr. Shapiro said.

Mr. Bailey had left his Los Angeles hotel last night and could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Shapiro made it clear yesterday that while he had no evidence of misconduct by Mr. Bailey, he did have reason to believe that one or more of the investigators brought into the case by Mr. Bailey might have been the source of leaks.

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