F. Lee Bailey: Obama Probably Told to Keep Mum on Mo. Shooting

Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 03:00 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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President Barack Obama was probably advised not to be so outspoken when making a statement about the fatal shooting of a black Missouri teenager by a white police officer over the weekend, after the commander in chief sparked outrage with remarks about Florida teenager Trayvon Martin's death before that case even went to trial, famed defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey tells Newsmax TV.

"President Obama has two limitations," Bailey said. "Number one, he is the chief executive of the United States, but he's also a lawyer. That kind of conduct is condemned by the rules that govern the bar. So, I would think his advisers probably told him, let's not be quite so vociferous on the issue of guilt early in the game."

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Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot eight times by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer on Saturday.

Bailey, appearing on "America's Forum" with Florida lawyer Janet Johnson on Wednesday, said politicians have a tendency to want to comment on criminal cases before they make it through the legal system.

President Richard Nixon did so before murderer Charles Manson was convicted, as did former Education Secretary Bill Bennett on O.J. Simpson, says Bailey, who was one of Simpson's defense attorneys.

"None of these people are doing a service to the justice system," he said.

The Ferguson Police Department has withheld the officer's name, something Bailey explained is done to protect the officer from being "assassinated" by an angry community that has been violently rioting since the shooting.

The FBI has taken over the investigation and could potentially supervise the police department for years, Johnson said.

"That's happened in Philadelphia, I think it happened in L.A. around the time of the Rodney King trial," she said. "So, the Feds will be supervising what's going on in this town because apparently they do have a checkered history."

She suggested that the National Guard be sent to Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, to deal with the rioting.

Bailey said people who engage in that sort of activity are not "community supporters."

"I have yet to understand how the community seeks revenge by breaking store windows and stealing other people's property," he said. "It seems to me that these are not community supporters, they're selfish people who see an opportunity to run away with other people's stuff.

"That is a sad aspect of these outbreaks and it should be dealt with, but I don't know how and neither do the police."

Brown's parents have pleaded for calm.

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