Originally created 05/11/05

Robert Blake testifies in deposition for lawsuit



IRVINE, Calif. - Robert Blake sparred during a deposition Monday with an attorney seeking to prove that the actor who was acquitted in March of murdering his wife should pay damages in a civil suit, the attorney said.

Blake testified about the death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, for nearly eight hours at the office of attorney Eric Dubin, who is representing Bakley's family in the suit. Bakley was shot to death in a parked car outside a restaurant in May 2001.

During the deposition, the actor repeatedly denied killing his wife and raised his voice at several points, telling Dubin to "shut up" and "don't get cute with me" in response to questions, the attorney told reporters after the session ended.

"He definitely was abusive toward me," he said. "But that's OK. I represent four kids whose mom was murdered. I could care less if Robert Blake wants to call me names."

The actor's attorney, Peter Ezzell, declined to provide details about the deposition but said the questions focused on a wide-range of topics, including what Blake did the night of the murder and how he spent his money.

"Where's (Dubin) going? I don't have a clue," Ezzell said.

Blake, 71, was expected to return to Dubin's Irvine office on Tuesday to finish the deposition. Dubin said he would make a videotape of the deposition available after it was over.

In March, a jury acquitted the actor of killing his wife following a trial in which both the prosecution and the defense portrayed Bakley as a con woman who had trapped Blake into marrying her by becoming pregnant with their daughter, Rosie.

The civil lawsuit was filed in 2002 on behalf of Bakley's four children, including Rosie, who is being cared for by Blake's adult daughter. A trial date has not been set.

Blake's former handyman, Earl Caldwell, attended the deposition but wasn't scheduled to answer questions until Thursday, Ezzell said.

Caldwell was originally charged with conspiring with Blake to kill Bakley, but the charge was dropped for lack of evidence. He is named as a defendant in the civil case.

On Friday, Superior Court Judge David Schacter denied a request by Blake's attorneys for a gag order in the case and also refused to seal records. Those records include deposition transcripts and jailhouse audio tapes.

Blake said Friday that he once offered to settle the case for $250,000 but it was rejected. He said he is now down to his last $150,000.

"I'm sorry it didn't settle," Blake told reporters Monday just before the deposition.