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Blake prosecutors seek to block evidence

D.A. asks judge to eliminate testimony about victim's past
/ Source: The Associated Press

Prosecutors in the Robert Blake murder case asked a judge Tuesday to limit evidence in the upcoming murder trial about the actor’s slain wife and her illicit exploits.

In more than 40 pages of motions filed Tuesday, prosecutors sought to eliminate huge amounts of evidence that could damage their case against Blake. They asked to bar testimony about Bonny Lee Bakley’s sex-related con games, her drug arrests, and the criminal involvements of other members of her family including her grown daughter.

“Ms. Bakley might be considered by some to be what is commonly referred to as a 'grifter’ or 'con artist,”’ the prosecutors said. But they asked Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp to limit such evidence before the jury.

While prosecutors don’t intend to sanitize Bakley’s past, they would “object to any attempts to sensationalize Ms. Bakley’s career and portray her as someone who deserved the fate she ultimately suffered,” they said.

Prosecutors also asked for no gratuitous use of nude photographs of Bakley.

Blake, the 70-year-old star of the old “Baretta” TV show, is charged with murdering Bakley on May 4, 2001. She was found shot to death in their car outside a restaurant where they had dined. Blake married Bakley, 44, after she gave birth to a baby girl he had fathered.

Prosecutors concede that Bakley ran a mail order business and sold nude photos of herself to lonely men, and the defense is expected to argue that other people who contacted Bakley had a motive to kill her.

Letters to Bakley
Tuesday’s motion noted the defense had disclosed 857 pages of letters from prison inmates who wrote to Bakley as well as information on each inmate, their charges and their release dates.

The prosecution demanded that no mention be made of this in the trial, calling the evidence irrelevant.

A phone message left for defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Prosecutors also sought to bar any mention of Christian Brando, Marlon Brando’s son, as someone with a motive to kill Bakley. Brando was one of Bakley’s former lovers and, for a time, she claimed her baby was fathered by him. DNA tests showed the baby was Blake’s offspring.

“No evidence that Mr. Brando is a possible perpetrator of this crime should be presented in court,” the motion said.

Other requests made by prosecutors included excluding evidence about the character and criminal records of two retired stuntmen who have said the actor tried to solicit them to kill his wife.

Also, the prosecution asked to use a tape recording Bakley made of a conversation with Blake after she told him he was the likely father of her baby. Prosecutors conceded that Bakley may have violated California law by surreptitiously recording the conversation. But they asked that it be admitted nevertheless.

“The recording at issue, on which defendant Blake expresses his enduring hatred for victim Bakley, is as relevant as evidence gets,” the motion said.