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Suit Against Blake May Be Settled

Times Staff Writer

Lawyers for Robert Blake and his slain wife’s children agreed Wednesday to try to settle a 3-year-old wrongful-death suit against the actor.

As a result, Blake will not -- at least for now -- be questioned under oath about the fatal shooting of Bonny Lee Bakley four years ago on a quiet residential street in Studio City.

Blake, 71, was acquitted earlier this month of killing 44-year-old Bakley. He has said he spent $10 million on his legal defense in the criminal case and that he owes $1.5 million in back taxes, leaving him virtually broke.

The civil suit seeks unspecified damages against Blake for Bakley’s wrongful death. It was filed in 2002 by Bakley’s estate, which represents all four of her children, including Rosie, her 4-year-old daughter with Blake.

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The actor was not in court in Burbank on Wednesday.

Outside the courthouse, lawyers for both sides said they would retain a private judge to mediate a settlement before the case goes to trial, possibly in July.

One of Blake’s lawyers, M. Gerald Schwartzbach, said he believed it was “in everyone’s best interest for this matter to be resolved.”

The children’s attorney, Eric J. Dubin, said they had no sympathy for Blake and his financial problems. He said they want justice, which in civil court is meted out monetarily.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Schacter ordered the lawyers back to his courtroom April 14 for an update on settlement talks.


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