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Dexter Douglass

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Dexter Douglass(courtesy of Douglass Law LLC)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Dexter Douglass, one of the lead attorneys who represented Vice President Al Gore during the chaotic presidential election recount of 2000, has died. Douglass was 83.

Lacy Douglass said her father, who had been battling bladder cancer, died early Tuesday morning at his home in Tallahassee.

Douglass, who his daughter called a "staunch Democrat," was deeply involved in Florida politics and policy for decades. "He was just a good person, he was good-hearted, he liked to take care of people," Lacy Douglass said.

Douglass was a life-long friend and adviser of former Gov. Lawton Chiles. The two men met each other while attending the University of Florida. Douglass, who had worked as a private attorney most of his career, worked for Chiles as general counsel.

But Douglass left that job in order to guide a constitutional revision panel that made several sweeping changes to state government in 1998. Voters approved amendments that year that shrank the size of the state Cabinet and made the governor more powerful.

Douglass became known nationally as one of the lawyers representing Gore in a push to recount ballots following the close results in Florida. His demeanor in court led The New York Times to call him a "stem-winding old-school Tallahassee orator who in another era would have worn a white suit and a pocket watch to court."

The recount drama ended after 36 days when the U.S. Supreme Court halted the recount of ballots that had been ordered by the Florida Supreme Court.

During his lengthy legal career Douglass was involved in several notable cases, including representing politicians who had gotten into trouble. He helped get Mallory Horne - the only Floridian to serve as both House speaker and Senate president in the 20th Century - acquitted of money laundering charges in a drug smuggling case.

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