Transcript for Robert Blake was acquitted of murder, then faced a new legal battle: Part 9
The Robert Blake murder trial. A verdict expected any day now. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. The most terrifying moment of a trial for me is when the jury comes in to render a verdict. Reporter: We the jury in the above and titled action find the defendant, Robert Blake, not guilty of the crime of first degree murder of Bonnie Lee Bakley. What was it like when they said, "Not guilty?" It was just enormous relief. Robert Blake found not guilty. Reporter: A jury acquitted the actor, Robert Blake, in the murder of his wife. The people who weren't following the case that closely were shocked. But the people who were watching the trial every day were not that surprised. The lack of physical evidence, the problems with the stuntmen's credibility was too difficult for the prosecutors to overcome. Why did you decide Robert Blake did not kill his wife? They couldn't put the gun in his hand. As the jury foreman said, they couldn't put the gun in his hand. And that was the gunshot residue. La district attorney Steve Cooley is calling that jury, quote, "Incredibly stupid." The district attorney made the mistake of going on camera saying he thought the jury was stupid. You have offended me by even thinking for one second that I'm stupid. Coming on the heels of the O.J. Verdict, they just couldn't accept it, that they had lost. Barbara Walters, god bless you, darling. I'd have never gotten out of the joint without you. I promised her in jail. You get the first interview afterward. And so I was acquitted, they put me on a plane and I did Barbara's show. Buckle up, folks. Robin Roberts with a very special guest host this morning Have you changed as a result of all of this? People right now either love me or hate me. The other day I went to the farmer's market and everybody was hugging me and stuff. But there were people on the outside saying, murderer, murderer. But it's hard to go from being Saddam hussein to sea biscuit and try to catch up with it. You do have a way with words. I've never been a tough guy in my life. My bark was out there to keep people away from me 'cause I was scared. And what I was really scared of is somebody hugging me. And now? Now it's just the opposite. I'll hug people that don't even like me? When you heard the verdict, you said I am blessed. If you could have one blessing, now, just for you. I want the same thing you want. I want a date for new year's eve. And she said, "Happy new year, Robert." And I said, "Happy new year, Barbara." And we went out and had breakfast. That great mood didn't last for long because the civil trial began within a few months. The 71-year-old actor arrived for the beginning of jury selection in his wrongful death lawsuit. I think you've got enough entertainment around here without me. There isn't a ping pong tournament? There isn't a pool game, something for you guys to cover on the planet? Attorney Eric Dubin who represents Bakley's heirs turned down an offer from Blake to settle the case before trial for about $250,000. I'm only thinking a couple of days to pick a jury. It shouldn't be that difficult. The defense lawyer was a guy named Peter Ezzell who I believe at the time was on super lawyer magazine. And someone told me he hadn't lost a case since 1970. I have confidence in the judge and the system. It should be no problem. For a criminal case, the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt. For a civil case it's a preponderance of the evidence, a much lower standard. In the criminal trial he didn't have to testify. In the civil trial he did have to testify. And you could see this from his deposition. This is a guy who can fly off the handle. Don't get cute with me. I'm not going to tell you again. I never instructed anybody to harm Bonnie in any way. Okay, we'll get to that. No, we got to that right now. I never instructed anybody to harm Bonnie in any way. Isn't it true that you hated Bonnie at the time of her murder? That's a lie. I'm asking you. I said that's a lie. When Robert Blake testifies at the trial, he goes off. Colorful and combative exchanges as Robert Blake told his side of what happened the night his wife was shot and killed. He was baretta on the stand, essentially. The fiery actor frequently raised his own objections to questions and even attempted to take over for the judge by sustaining his own objections! He just dug himself deeper in a hole. Blake was yelling at everybody and threatening everybody and the jury got to see who Robert Blake was. Jury deliberations are expected to begin in Robert Blake's civil case. The jury deliberated for eight days and returned a verdict which stunned everyone. This is Robert Blake as he walked into court this morning before the verdict. The first question was did Robert Blake kill Bonnie Lee Bakley? And they said yes. Blake looked stunned as the juror said his liability is $30 million. I'll take a check, cashier's check, or cash, I'll leave it at whatever he wants to do. The numbers were good and the jury got that right. The appellate court cut the Eventually, we settled for a confidential amount. I think what was interesting about this jury is they didn't seem to have unanimous agreement on what actually happened involving Robert Blake. Did you as a jury believe that he pulled the trigger, or do you just think that he caused her death? To this point, who knows. I mean -- We're not sure. There was outrageous juror misconduct in the civil case. One of them was relying on the bible. There was a juror who had a hearing impairment. He was being told by other jurors what the evidence was. There were some jurors who talked about deciding the case beforehand. A lot of the jurors didn't like Blake to begin with. It was, "I don't like Blake," "He left his wife in the car." It was constant even before even the testimony began. It was just the way he was acting. I mean, you know, he could have been a lot better. A lot nicer to people. They hear about Robert Blake and they think about O.J. Simpson, because there's a public perception that O.J. Got away with murder. They all agreed that this is sending a message out to the world, just 'cause you're famous you can't get away with it. I received a telephone call from a lawyer who said he had a client. He gave me significant information that suggested that someone completely unrelated to Robert had been involved in the murder. There's a witness in this case who thinks he knows who the killer really is.
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