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Former Gov. Kirk blasts Bailey

In a clash of colorful characters, former Gov. Claude Kirk declared Tuesday that defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey "bamboozled" a federal court jury in a case involving Kirk.

Bailey, the celebrity attorney who represented O. J. Simpson, Patty Hearst and the Boston Strangler, grilled Kirk in federal court last month about whether he tried to extort $60,000 from an executive of the defunct Members Service Corp.

Kirk told a news conference Tuesday it was he who was "duped" by board members of Members Service, not the other way around.

Bailey did not return a call for comment on Kirk's remarks.

The jury in the February trial in U.S. District Court in Orlando was unable to reach a verdict and the case is scheduled to be retried April 1.

Deadly chemical neutralized in woods

GAINESVILLE _ A 20-pound canister of a deadly chemical has been rendered harmless by federal contractors working in woods near Gainesville.

The canister of pentaborane, an explosive mixture of boron and hydrogen, was discovered in a chemistry storage area at the University of Florida in 1994. It was moved to UF's hazardous waste collection facility where it remained for a few years.

A National Pentaborane Task Force decided the best alternative was to use other chemicals to break the compound down in a safe structure in Austin Cary Forest. Contractors firms did the work over the weekend, officials said.

_ Compiled from wire reports.