Fred Baron fights for life while son fights for use of experimental drug

The SE Texas Record Oct. 16, 2008, 10:27am

Fred Baron

DALLAS -- According to an Internet plea posted on his son's Web site, Texas trial lawyer Fred Baron is dying, and an attempts by his son to get him an experimental drug treatment is failing.

Andrew Baron has enlisted political heavyweights who have benefited from Baron's campaign funds over the years to help lobby officials at Biogen Idec, the company that makes Tysabri, to allow his father to take it.

Fred Baron, according to his son, is in the "final stage" of a fight against an incurable bone cancer and has only days to live. Andrew Baron believes the experimental drug is his father's last chance, and has reached out to the likes of fellow Texan and cancer survivor cyclist Lance Armstrong; former President Bill and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., for support, according to published reports.

The company told news agencies Fred Baron does not qualify for treatment.

The last six years have brought Baron untold trouble after years of wild success as a plaintiffs' attorney, who reportedly earned hundreds of millions in asbestos lawsuits.

In 2002, he sued his former law firm for breach of contract after he left the firm to become more active in politics. The firm, in turn, countersued him, setting off an ugly legal battle.

That year, after announcing he intended to wage a "jihad" on tort reform groups, Baron turned his attention to supporting Democratic candidates who would vote to block tort reform.

His active involvement in the 2004 presidential campaigns ended in defeat. Baron also backed Edwards in another losing presidential bid in 2008. But he was publicly embarrassed when news of Edwards' extra-marital affair with a staffer broke in recent months, followed by reports that Baron had been paying Edwards' mistress hush money.

In addition, Baron's former law firm laid off more than 120 lawyers and staffers in 2007, as new tort reform in Texas had dried up much of the business Baron built his firm on.

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