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The $2 Million Question: Can F. Lee Bailey Pay His Taxes?

By Robyn Hagan Cain on April 29, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Care Bears used to say “It’s never too late if you care enough.” This week, Justice Donald Alexander of Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court offered a similar sentiment regarding F. Lee Bailey’s chances of getting his law license back, the ABA Journal reports.

All Bailey needs is a good ol’ fashioned Care Bear stare … and $2 million dollars.

Bailey was once one of the most high-profile defense lawyers of the century, representing Dr. Sam Sheppard, heiress Patty Hearst, Albert DiSalvo (who was convicted of crimes attributed to the Boston Strangler) and O.J. Simpson, the Bangor Daily News reports.

In 2001, however, he was disbarred in Florida for the way he handled stock transactions during his representation of a client in a drug prosecution and related asset forfeiture proceeding, The Associated Press reports. He was reciprocally disbarred in Massachusetts.

Eleven years later, the disgraced defense attorney passed the Maine bar at age 78, but the Maine Board of Bar Examiners determined that he had not demonstrated sufficient good character and fitness for admission "because of his disbarments in Florida and Massachusetts, his failure to acknowledge the wrongfulness of his past misconduct, conflicting statements he had given regarding his state of residence between 2002 and 2010, concern about his possible avoidance of state and federal income taxes in the years before and after his disbarment, and incomplete answers on his bar admission application regarding past disciplinary actions, past and pending civil litigation, corporations in which he held an interest and defaults on debts."

Yikes, that's a long list.

Bailey challenged the character and fitness decision, and received good news back from the state's highest court last week. While Judge Alexander declined to immediately admit Bailey to the bar, he said he would reconsider if the almost-octogenarian offered a plan to repay a $2 million federal tax debt, the ABA Journal reports.

Judging from the success of recent film-funding Kickstarter campaigns, I think Bailey should ask the Internet to pay off the debt. I mean, no one's surprised that the "Veronica Mars" Kickstarter was such a rousing success because Kristen Bell is the cutest person ever. But even Zach Braff managed to raise $1.5 million in a day for his "Garden State" follow-up.

You gotta admire someone is actually willing to practice law at 79 instead of enjoying retirement. So c'mon. Someone get this man a Kickstarter and help him back into the bar.

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