Bonny Lee Bakley signed a prenuptial agreement and a child custody pact forfeiting her legal rights to actor Robert Blake’s assets and strictly limiting access to the couple’s baby, Bakley’s former lawyer testified at the actor’s murder trial.
“It was an extraordinarily lopsided agreement,” Cary Goldstein testified Tuesday. “I’d never seen an agreement so devoid of compensation to one of the parties.”
Prosecutors presented Goldstein’s testimony to support their contention that Blake’s obsession with keeping his baby daughter, Rosie, from Bakley led him to kill her.
Goldstein said he considered the agreements so unfair he wouldn’t sign off on them so Bakley found another lawyer — one who worked for Blake — who would.
“In my career I have never seen an agreement like this that is as abusive and controlling as this,” Goldstein said. “I would never allow a client to sign off on this.”
Before Goldstein took the witness stand two police detectives testified that Bakley filed a child-stealing report against Blake before they were married but withdrew it three days later, prompting police to drop their investigation.
Bakley, 44, was shot to death in May 2001 as she waited in a car for Blake outside a restaurant where the couple had just dined. Blake says he returned briefly to the restaurant to retrieve a gun he’d forgotten. He said he returned to the car to find Bakley mortally wounded.
Goldstein said Bakley came to her when her baby was 5 months old with a copy of a custody agreement that provided she could see the child only during visits overseen by a court-approved monitor. It also included provisions to keep her from allowing her family “or convicted felons” from being on Blake’s property and allowed her other minor daughter to visit only four days a month.
The agreement was predicated on plans for Bakley and Blake to marry, said Goldstein, and specified that if either of them caused the wedding to be canceled, the other party would take custody of the baby.
“It was clear to me this document was a setup for disaster for her,” said Goldstein. “They were setting up a condition for her to lose custody of the child.”
Of the prenuptial agreement, Goldstein said: “It totally stripped her of her rights — community property, separate property.”
Outside court, Goldstein told reporters he could not dissuade Bakley from signing the documents.
“She had been chasing celebrities all her life and she wasn’t going to give this up,” he said. “Bonnie wanted to marry a celebrity and she did it.”
The agreements were filed on Oct. 4, 2000, the day before the Los Angeles Police Department dropped its child-stealing investigation of Blake at Bakley’s request.