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CNN Larry King Live
Interviews With Harland Braun, Cary Goldstein, Johnnie Cochran
Aired May 01, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, high courtroom drama. An emotional Robert Blake makes a personal plea for bail. But the judge says no. In Los Angeles, Blake's attorney, Harland Braun with a firsthand account. Also in L.A., Bakley family attorney Cary Goldstein.
And what's going to happen to little Rosie? Robert Blake's older daughter wants to be her guardian. We'll hear from her attorney, Terry McNiff. Also in Los Angeles, attorney Barry Novak with the latest on Bonny Lee Bakley's children and their civil suit against Blake.
And then, legal fireworks from defense attorney Mark Geragos, in New York, Court TV anchor Nancy Grace. And what's it like to represent a celebrity accused of murder? Who better to answer that Simpson dream team attorney Johnnie Cochran. And finally, the world renowned forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. We begin with Harland Braun, Robert Blake's attorney. We're kind of attached to you since the night of the arrest and you were on with us on the way to the police -- down to the station to meet your client. What happened today? He interrupted you...
HARLAND BRAUN, ROBERT BLAKE'S ATTORNEY: No, he wanted to talk about dyslexia because I don't think many people know that he can't read. He has severe dyslexia. Even when he was making movies, he couldn't read the scripts. They had to be read to him. He has a good memory.
KING: And you were making this plea on behalf of him for dyslexia because he can't read the charges, right, the case?
BRAUN: Yes. One of the problems, of course, being locked up and being prosecuted is you have to help your lawyers prepare. In a typical case, it is much easier for the client to come to the office. Here, there's 35,000 pages of material for us to go through. Now even if he read 10 percent of that, 3,000 pages, at five pages an hour, that's very difficult.
KING: Did you know he was going to interrupt you?
BRAUN: He said earlier that he might. And he said, what do I think? I said, well, it is not usually done, but if you speak sincerely and you feel it's appropriate, do it. So I wasn't positive until it happened.
KING: And based on what we hear, it was very emotional. Do you think you should have allowed cameras in the courtroom?
BRAUN: I'm second-guessing myself right now. At least, maybe I could allow sometimes.
KING: And what he said was, let me go home?
BRAUN: Let me go home to my kids. I want to fight this case. Let me do it efficiently. And the irony of this case is there's no one that claims that he's a flight risk or no one...
KING: The prosecution doesn't say that?
BRAUN: No, they never did. And no one claims that he's a danger to anyone. They just want to keep him locked up, I believe, because it is easier to convict you when you're locked up.
KING: And he's in a solitary kind of lockup. Is he in a prison population, a jail population?
BRAUN: No. He's got a small cell that he stays in when he's not visiting with people. He's not in contact with anyone else. So it is somewhat difficult.
KING: The judge said no. Why?
BRAUN: Well, he said no temporarily. I think he has an open mind. It's unusual in this case. In California, if you were charged with first-degree murder with a gun, you would get bail. But if they say that you were -- stalked the person or that you were lying in wait, then you can't get bail under most circumstances.
KING: That's what's called special circumstances.
BRAUN: And here's the problem. If he was convicted of murder with a gun, he goes away for 50 to life in California. So he's never going to get out, right? But he would have gotten bail, $1 million bail. But they allege this and he's denied bail. So it doesn't seem like what we think America's about.
KING: So, the judge said what's the next date?
BRAUN: The next date is the 21st. We're going to go back and discuss when we're going to have a preliminary hearing.
KING: This is a date to discuss a date.
KING: Explain that.
BRAUN: Well, because they've given us about 35,000 pages to start looking at and we still have 900 exhibits. And they say there's another 10,000 pages. So until we can see all the materials, we can't tell the judge when we can be ready.
KING: So the judge said what regarding bail?
BRAUN: He said for the time being, no bail, but I want to see the evidence at the prelim. And then I might set bail.
KING: And the prelim is not May 21?
BRAUN: No. There's a tremendous advantage at this hearing though. As you know, things come up. We forced the prosecution for the first time to disclose their evidence in a summary form. And we found for the first time that there's no physical evidence connecting him to the killing and no witnesses.
KING: No gun relationship with the...
KING: ... things on his hand or anything?
BRAUN: There's gunshot residue on his hand, but that could be a result of the gun. And the L.A. police reports themselves say this is meaningless. There's no blood on his clothing. There's no...
KING: Was the bullet that killed her from his gun?
BRAUN: No, absolutely not. It was from the gun that was found in the dumpster. So, as far as we can tell now, and I haven't seen it all, there is no evidence connecting him physically or eyewitness evidence.
KING: How about this though? The prosecutors say that in the papers that they presented that he sought to whack Bonny Lee as early as 1999 when she was pregnant. According to the papers, Blake met with a private investigator late in 1999, told him he had gotten her pregnant. Blake allegedly suggested he and the witness could force her, the victim, to have an abortion or, as an alternative, whack her. Pretty damaging.
BRAUN: Robert denies that. And I think what's happening is people that come forward with these stories now are somewhat suspect. I mean, if someone solicits you to do something like that, wouldn't you call the police?
KING: Do you know who is say this?
BRAUN: Yes, I know who is saying this. Yes.
KING: Is it a material kind of -- is it a stand-up -- I mean, is it a person held up in the community or a person you'd be inclined to believe?
BRAUN: I doubt it. I mean, I have some skepticism about people who come forward with talk and say, oh, he asked me to whack someone, but I didn't go to the police. I'm just stepping forward now. I think one thing that might be misconstrued, you know, he was very upset about this situation. And he's a rough and tumble sort of a character. So I could see someone, you know, spouting off about being upset with her. But I could never hear him saying, we're going to kill her or whack her or anything like that.
KING: How about the forensic tests finding gun powder residue on his body and clothing?
BRAUN: Yes, well, that was the fraud we caught the prosecution in. They presented that evidence to the judge saying that this was found on the body. They used the coroner's reports. We presented the judge with the LAPD scientific reports which specifically say that that's meaningless evidence because it depends on where it came from. So that's completely bogus.
KING: How about all those phone calls to the two stuntmen?
BRAUN: Well, the problem with that is there's phone calls to the two stuntmen and there's phone calls to a lot of other people on that AT&T card. So, that doesn't mean anything either. They focus on this, it only proves that he talked to the stuntmen. It doesn't show what he talked about.
KING: Are you saying this is going to be a very hard case for them to prove?
BRAUN: I hope so. I hope so. You never know. I try to keep an open mind. If there's evidence I don't know about, I can't have an opinion about that.
KING: Now you have a letter, apparently, it has been said, in Bakley's handwriting, in which she writes I've almost been killed a dozen times, not accusing your client.
BRAUN: No, no. This was -- this, in fact, she says -- this is a letter to her probation officer back east. So she says, I've been almost killed a dozen times. I'm trying to get together with Blake, but, you know, we're distanced. And if I don't make it with Blake, I'm going to be living with Christian Brando. So, it's a very bizarre letter, but that's the letter.
KING: According to you, Harland, there are a lot of suspects, I mean, a lot of people who could have committed this?
BRAUN: Yes. This lady has for 25 years defrauded men across the country in a very personal, sad way. She's stolen money from people. I don't know how many people she's married. So it could be easily possible that one of these people from her past was mad enough at her to kill her.
KING: Does your client have any thoughts as to who it might be?
BRAUN: Not really. Not really. He has about the same opinion that I do. The problem in this case is there are too many suspects, and that's part of the police's problem. We turned over 14,000 pages of letters that would indicate people that might have been defrauded by her. And the police checked out maybe five or six people, I think. KING: How is he handling prison?
BRAUN: It's tough. I mean, he keeps up, you know, he tries to keep up a good facade. I think it's tough on him being separated from his children. And today, he looked -- when I last saw him, he seemed fine, but it must be discouraging to hear a judge deny you bail when everyone admits you're not a flight risk and you're not dangerous.
KING: Why did he put up $1 million of his own money for Mr. Caldwell?
BRAUN: Because he's his employee, his friend. He thought he was being mistreated by the police. And he just thought...
KING: Can that look funny, though? Can it look like I'm taking care of you, don't squeal on me?
BRAUN: You know, Larry, this is a country in which the prosecution can give you immunity on a murder case. And if I give a witness $5, I'm indicted for bribery. So, we bailed him out. There's nothing more we can do.
KING: You have nothing to do with his defense, right?
BRAUN: No, no, I don't.
KING: And how is the state of his daughter?
BRAUN: Rosie is doing fine. I mean, she's complaining that...
KING: His other daughter is filing to be a guardian, is that it?
BRAUN: That's right.
KING: Are you in favor of that?
BRAUN: No. It terrorizes me that the Bakley family could become -- it terrifies me that they could become guardians. They seem to be backing off now, but they keep threatening that if Robert is acquitted, then they're going to try to take Rosie to God knows where.
KING: And he misses Rosie?
BRAUN: He misses Rosie and he fears for her safety.
KING: Thanks, Harland.
BRAUN: OK. Thank you.
KING: See you on the 21st, the next time they gather.
Cary Goldstein, the attorney for the Bakley family is next. Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE the Bakley family attorney. By the way, tomorrow night, exclusive for an hour, Gene Wilder will be with us. Gene Wilder, tomorrow night. Don't miss it.
Cary, what do you make of that incredible thing in court today and Blake speaking on his own behalf?
CARY GOLDSTEIN, BAKLEY FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, it was real interesting. If there's any one thing that I can probably believe that Robert Blake said, that is that he has brain damage. But...
KING: Dyslexia, right?
GOLDSTEIN: No. He also said he has brain damage. I just don't think that his claims are anything that should be really considered at this point. There are lots of people sitting, rotting in jail, wishing that they could put the $1 million bail up whether or not a judge allows them to.
The problem I have there are a lot of wealthy people, a lot of celebrities in this country, who are getting away with murder. And what's going on now is that Mr. Braun, doing a diligent job for his client. He's drawing away the focus from his client and to himself. Really, right now, people are looking more at him than they are at Robert Blake. You know, we know a whole lot about Blake and about his past. And I ask why is the bashing of Bonny going on still? What is the purpose of that? The police have looked at all these people that he says...
KING: Because they want to create the fact that there are other suspects possible. How can you do that without bashing the client?
GOLDSTEIN: Larry, there's one big difference. Robert Blake is the only one who was at the crime scene. No one else was.
KING: That you know about.
GOLDSTEIN: Well, that we know about, OK. No one else has surfaced anywhere. The police have spoken to 150 people. They've come up with 900 pieces of evidence. They've turned it over. I think they have a strong case against him.
KING: Harland said that maybe you should have allowed cameras in the court today, Blake was that effective. Would you agree? Was he effective today?
GOLDSTEIN: I don't think he was effective at all. Actually, it was very contrived. It was almost like the funeral scene. It was...
GOLDSTEIN: Yes. It was -- this man is an actor. And you could listen to him and you can tell that this was well prepared.
KING: He said that people charged with first-degree murder get bail in California. GOLDSTEIN: Maybe, maybe not, sometimes. He's charged with special circumstances. Because he has $1 million, should he be treated differently than the guy who doesn't?
KING: He said the prosecutors haven't argued that he's a flight risk. You think he's a flight risk?
GOLDSTEIN: Yes, I do, because Margerry tells me and I seem to recall Bonny telling me...
KING: Bonny's sister, Margerry.
GOLDSTEIN: Yes, Bonny's sister, Margerry -- that he used to threaten her constantly, he's going to take the baby and run off to Italy with the child. We think that right now, Robert Blake is a very depressed, morose individual, and that he actually poses a threat of harm to the child.
GOLDSTEIN: Yes. And we don't have any problems with Delina caring for the child. She's obviously providing a good home. The problem we have is Robert Blake raising this child, the man who we believe murdered the child's mother.
KING: The only way that could happen is if he's acquitted, right?
GOLDSTEIN: If he's acquitted or what's going to happen if he's out on bail? We have some serious issues to deal with.
KING: Is he a danger to the child?
GOLDSTEIN: We believe so. We believe he is.
KING: In what way?
GOLDSTEIN: Well, we think this man has some severe issues. We believe, No. 1, he murdered the child's mother. No. 2, you know, look, let's take a good look at Robert Blake and who he has admitted openly in public, who he is. The man has been a heroin addict, an alcoholic, he's admitted to armed robberies in the past. This is a man who is not a charming individual himself. To point a finger at Bonny Bakley for things that she did and trying to taint the jury pool now, getting out there and letting everybody know that this is her past, so let's -- Robert was supposedly justified in killing her. Let's let him off because this woman had it coming.
KING: That's something that may not come up in court? Does her past come up in court?
GOLDSTEIN: Maybe, maybe not. What I'm told is that there's some pretty current case law on the issue, and they may have a hard time getting it in. So if it doesn't come in, they still have pre-educated these jurors. KING: He said that his client denies ever saying anything about whacking his wife. They have some evidence. Apparently, some people are saying that.
GOLDSTEIN: Of course he's going to deny that, Larry.
KING: And all the phone call records to the stuntmen. But Harland said there are millions of phone calls on there.
GOLDSTEIN: These stuntmen came forward very early on, and the police just didn't release the information.
KING: So this is not a new thing then?
GOLDSTEIN: No, my understanding is that they came forward quite some time ago. My belief is, and the district attorney hasn't told me this, but my belief is that they didn't want to get Robert simply on a conspiracy or solicitation of murder charge. They believed he committed the murder and continued with the investigation.
KING: What, in your opinion, was the motive?
GOLDSTEIN: You know, even Harland doesn't challenge the fact that the motive was there. I genuinely believe that Robert Blake is -- I don't know how else to put it, but a cheap individual. He didn't want to pay child support. By marrying her, he didn't have to pay child support. But he also wanted the child. He wanted Bonny out of his life and he wanted to capture the child.
KING: Delina did allow Margerry to see the baby though.
GOLDSTEIN: This last week. The meeting, the visitation...
KING: What was that like?
GOLDSTEIN: It was heartwarming. It was great. We extended gratitude to Delina for it. She openly invited Margerry to visit with Rosie any time that she's in town. Nothing was said about Robert. Nothing was said about the real problem here that Margerry thinks Delina's father killed her sister. They have a common bond regarding Rosie. And it was truly -- it was about an hour and 20 minutes, I believe, and it was truly a great experience.
KING: That was very nice.
GOLDSTEIN: It was. So long as Robert's out of the picture, we're OK.
KING: Does this case deserve the attention it's getting?
GOLDSTEIN: I believe so. Robert Blake is a wealthy individual. He's a celebrity, although maybe at this point one might consider him a minor celebrity. And we've seen that celebrities and wealthy people in this country have been getting away with murder.
It is important that there be cameras in the courtroom so the public knows what's going on in the courtroom. And there's a certain inherent imbalance and injustice in the system. He bails out the guy who is probably going to flip on him. We understand now that Paul Guerin (ph), Bonny's ex-husband, who Bonny was supporting, and now that Bonny's gone, he has no support, he's the man who allowed the search of Bonny's residence by Blake's investigators. And he now has Bonny's car, we're told, compliments of Blake, and he's now living in a hotel. We're informed also that it is compliments of Mr. Blake. So he's buying testimony, we believe.
KING: What about posting bail for the other person charged, Mr. Caldwell?
GOLDSTEIN: Well, exactly. We believe that, you know, rather than have Earle sit and rot in the jail cell with lots of time to think about, do I really want to do this, maybe I'll just tell them what they need to know about Robert, they bailed him.
KING: Who decides on cameras?
GOLDSTEIN: The judge.
KING: If one of the parties says no, that doesn't mean it is no? It was no today.
KING: But for the trial, the judge can override if one of the parties complains?
GOLDSTEIN: I believe that's the case.
KING: Always good having you with us.
GOLDSTEIN: You too, Larry, always.
KING: Cary Goldstein, on this matter that is curioser and curioser. This edition of LARRY KING LIVE continues with more. Our entire program devoted to it tonight.
Don't forget, Gene Wilder tomorrow. And on Friday night, a look back at "The Honeymooners." Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome Terry McNiff, the attorney for Delina Blake who is commonly known as Deli Blake, she's seeking guardianship of Rosie, Robert Blake's older daughter. Guardianship meaning what, Terry?
TERRY MCNIFF, ATTORNEY FOR DELINA BLAKE: Guardianship is the way that a non-parent gets the legal right to make decisions for the child, to care for all of the child's legal needs, everything having to do with the child -- in the absence of the parents.
KING: This is with Robert's approval?
KING: Does he have to sign off on something like this?
MCNIFF: He nominated Deli to serve.
KING: What's the argument against it?
MCNIFF: Well, there's no argument if Mr. Goldstein sticks with the statement that he's making this week, which is that he does not oppose it. To his credit, Mr. Goldstein has said on the record, in a letter to us, that he does not oppose the guardianship, that he knows that the baby is in really loving hands with Deli. He got the chance to see that himself. And so did Margerry Bakley.
And so there's no concern with respect to them, if they remain true to what they're saying in court. In other words, there still is a hearing because we don't have a writing signed by them that they could file with the court that says...
KING: The judge has to say, you are the guardian.
MCNIFF: Right. And we have to see who comes forward and who opposes it and why they oppose it.
KING: And when is that hearing?
MCNIFF: That hearing is May 9.
KING: Right around the corner.
KING: If Blake gets bail, does she still -- and let's say she's given guardianship, is she still the guardian if he's out?
MCNIFF: Well, she is technically then still the guardian, but that's something to be dealt with if and when he gets bail. I mean, it's a separate issue.
KING: Why is it important, Terry, that she be declared guardian? She's with her, right?
MCNIFF: Well, someone needs to act on behalf of the baby. The problem is that, let's say there's a medical emergency, let's say there's a legal emergency. And in this instance, exactly the reason why -- the prime reason why we filed the petition for temporary guardianship and for permanent guardianship because that's all you can do after 30 days, it has to be permanent, is because we were told that the police could pick up this child at any time. And that was really Deli's concern and worry, was that for some reason, and there's not really a legal basis to do so or a factual basis to do so, that the police or someone would pick up this child.
From the beginning, what Deli has done with respect to the child is she's taken care of all of the child's needs. She got the baby to a pediatrician right away. She's made sure that a social worker who was with the department of children and family services, they came in and looked at the child, did the same review that the department of children and family services does. Because she's a psychologist and works in the children field.
KING: It seemed pretty obvious that barring some unsuspected occurrence in court, she's probably going to get this, isn't she?
KING: Would you say you're confident?
MCNIFF: Well, yes, because she's taking care of the baby.
KING: And the statements that the others have made?
MCNIFF: Right. As long as -- actually, we can't use the statements that's in that letter, or any other statements that's on the air. And that's a concern for us. And really the main concern is this interim period here between, say a week ago and May 9. If somebody were to come forward and make an unsubstantiated statement or an alleged -- quote -- "report," that baby is at risk this in that sense. And we want to stop that from happening.
KING: Thank you, Terry. And we'll be calling on you again. That was Terry McNiff, the attorney for Deli Blake, or Delina Blake, the daughter seeking to have temporary guardianship of Robert Blake's daughter.
Now joining us in another part of the studio is Barry Novak, and he's the attorney for the Bakley children. A civil suit filed with the Los Angeles superior court last Monday. You're asking for what, Barry, on behalf of the children?
BARRY NOVAK, ATTORNEY FOR BAKLEY CHILDREN: Larry, good evening. We're asking for damages for the wrongful death of Bonny Lee Bakley, on behalf of the children and we're also asking for enhanced damages in the form of punitive damages if Mr. Blake is found guilty of a felony in connection with the death of his wife.
KING: This would be similar to the civil suit in the Simpson case where the family files for wrongful death.
NOVAK: That's correct. Although, I hope the similarity ends there. They went into the civil case without a conviction. We hope we go in with a conviction.
KING: But they won that case anyway.
NOVAK: That's true.
KING: All right. Do you have any objection from your side of the coin to Deli having temporary guardianship?
NOVAK: I see no reason at this time why she should not have custody, at this time.
KING: All right. Do you see this being a major drawn out lawsuit?
NOVAK: You're talking about the civil side?
KING: Yes, your side.
NOVAK: We're going to be asking the court for a stay of proceedings, which means to put the civil case on the back burner for three reasons. Number one, we could not effectively conduct our discovery in the civil case because the defendants would plead the fifth, and they would not answer any questions. If we wait until after the criminal case is finished, whether it is a conviction or an acquittal, they no longer have the right to plead the fifth.
Secondly, if there's a conviction against Mr. Blake, then we could use that in the civil case to establish our liability.
And, thirdly, if he is convicted, in connection to the death of his wife, which will be a felony, then our enhanced damages would be established. So for those three reasons we'll be asking the court to let the criminal trial proceed first unimpeded by the civil trial.
KING: I got it. I understand -- we brought a picture we're going to show now of Bonny Bakley's two of her three other children. And there is the picture. And that's two of the children that you're filing this case for, right?
NOVAK: Correct. Actually, the case is filed on behalf of the administrator of the estate, Blanchard E. Tulle. And he is the administrator of the estate, is the nominal plaintiff. The real parties in interest are the four children.
KING: I see. And they're claiming that those children have been denied her -- as you said -- love, care and comfort, right?
NOVAK: Well, they have been deprived, you know, Larry, Mother's Day is coming up in about 12 days now. You know, there's a saying that a mother is she who can take the place of many others. But whose place no one can take. And what this case is all about is the loss of a mother. These four children have lost a loving, caring and giving mother.
I heard Mr. Braun on earlier today talking about how Bonny Lee Bakley allegedly earned her living. You know, mother is spelled m-o- t-h-e-r. Mr. Braun is focused on "m" which is money. I am focused on the other. And it's the totality that forms mother. And we believe when the civil case is tried the true picture of who Bonny Lee Bakley was will come and I think that image will be a positive one.
KING: How do you put an amount on that?
NOVAK: I don't put an amount on that, Larry; 12 members of the community, after listening to all the evidence, they will do that.
KING: Thank you, Barry Novak, the attorney for the Bakley children. When we come back, our panel of Mark Geragos, Nancy Grace, Johnnie Cochran, and Dr. Henry Lee. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: The Robert Blake case. We now welcome Mark Geragos, defense attorney here in Los Angeles, Nancy Grace, the Court TV anchor, former prosecutor. Also in New York, Johnnie Cochran returns to LARRY KING LIVE. Let the trumpets blair. The former defense attorney for O.J. Simpson. And in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, Dr. Henry Lee, the internationally renowned forensic expert. Former commissioner of public safety to the state of Connecticut, and author of a terrific new book "Cracking Cases, The Science Of Solving Crimes."
Before we get Mark and Nancy in on the doings of the day, Johnnie, what's different about defending someone famous?
JOHNNIE COCHRAN, O.J. SIMPSON DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think there's so much attention directed to it, Larry. You have to constantly remind everybody, the potential jury pool and everybody else in America that the person is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proven and to keep an open mind.
There is so much information going back and forth, that it makes it difficult, as you know. It makes everybody's job very tough. Now Harland has embarked on an interesting strategy of bashing Bonny. That could be -- he's got to demonstrate that his client didn't do it. But that's also pretty dangerous, I must say, because if the jury ever got mad at that strategy, it could work against him.
KING: Dr. Lee, what does the state have to show forensically in a case like this? What do they have to show the jury?
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC EXPERT: They first of all have to show somebody fired a gun, and basically Bob Blake fired a gun, to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. Then they have to prove the intent to murder the deceased.
KING: Do they have to show anything on his person?
LEE: Right, to link to the crime scene which basically, if you can find the blood spatter, high velocity blood spatter, the blow back on his hands or his clothing or gunshot residue, gun powder residue. And to prove, in fact, he did handle a gun or handle a recent discharged gun or fired a gun.
KING: So since it wasn't his gun, it was a gun found a little later in another place, do they have to prove that, or can you have a bunch of other coincidental evidence that makes that moot?
LEE: Yes, you can link through, let's say traced serial number and linked to somebody that purchased the gun. In other words, through the records, computer or other communication, he in fact asked somebody to purchase that gun.
KING: I got you. Mark, what do you make of this statement today for bail about dyslexia and that emotional appeal that Mr. Blake made? MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I thought it was pretty effective based upon what I saw. I thought Harland did a pretty good job of smoking out the prosecution in what they have and what they don't have. And they took the bait, so to speak. They laid out what they have. And apparently, at least from the things that were being leaked initially by the police at the press conference and in the media, the case is not as strong as what people were led to believe initially.
KING: Nancy, is Robert Blake a flight risk?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, he's got the means. He's got a lot of money from what we know, and he's certainly got motive for flight. Not only that, we see that the co-defendant Caldwell has made bond, $1 million bond and he's being put up in a lux hotel by Blake.
Nobody can tell me that Blake would be above tampering with witnesses which is another factor for the court to consider. But we did learn something else today. We understand now that Mr. Blake has a lot of health issues. Remember, Larry, he refused to take a polygraph after the shooting because he was worried his high blood pressure could throw the test results off. Now we find out he's suffering from dyslexia. I'm surprised they don't have him in the medical unit.
GERAGOS: They do, actually. They had him in the hospital ward, so technically, Nancy, he apparently does have some medical issues, because that is where they've got him.
GRACE: They've only got him there because he was a star, a celebrity. He has had preferential treatment from the get-go. You saw Earle Caldwell, the co-defendant, thrown down on the gravel on the asphalt spread-eagled and arrested. They made a house call on Robert Blake.
KING: Johnnie, is he entitled to bail in your opinion?
COCHRAN: That's a tough, tough question. Once there's special circumstances, I'll be very surprised, Larry, if he ever gets bail. You remember that my client some years ago never got bail. I've had a number of these kind of cases, where it is discretionary with the judge at some level. But when they ask special circumstances, even though no (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it is going to be highly unlikely he gets bail. And the thought that he is not a flight risk, I would be real surprised if Pat Dixon stood up and said they didn't think he was a flight risk. I would be very surprised. I don't think we are going to see bail in this case.
KING: He said, though, Harland said in California, first degree murder you're entitled to bail?
GERAGOS: First degree murder without special circumstances. The bail schedule here in L.A. county is $1 million. And that's exactly what Caldwell got for the conspiracy. But in this case they alleged the special circumstances, lying in wait. We said the evening they arrested him that I thought they put that on there, and they arrested him on the Thursday, so that he couldn't get bail over the weekend and then they would wait and see what the D.A. did with it.
So, it is really is up to the judge. In this case, the lying in wait, based upon what they say, and what the factual scenario was that was laid out, the only person lying in wait was the victim here. So I don't know how -- past the preliminary hearing -- whether or not they'll make that stick. If they don't, he gets bail.
KING: Nancy, assuming the that he has dyslexia and they can prove that, how can he help his own case if he can't read the pages of the charge?
GRACE: Well, the fact that he has dyslexia is not going to hinder him from helping with his case. He can communicate with his attorneys, he certainly has enough money to hire assistants on the outside. He has had a private investigator under his employ from the get-go. The fact that he has a learning disability is not what the Constitution intended as far as assisting your attorney.
And another thing, Harland Braun's got a lot of nerve to say this is not what America is about. America is about seeking justice. And if you shoot your wife in cold blood, you will go to jail.
KING: But he's accused of that. He hasn't been convicted of that.
GERAGOS: That's never stopped Nancy, though. When it comes to Nancy and making those accusations, that never stops her.
GRACE: No, I disagree. We can laugh about it but Bonny Lee Bakley was murdered in cold blood, and if he is suspected, he should be arrested and put behind bars.
GERAGOS: Right, except he should not, they should not file special circumstances if the only reason for that is to deny the man bail. Because it appears now, based upon what came out in the preliminary hearing setting today, that the evidence is not as strong as what they said.
KING: Let me get a break. More from our panel and your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Gene Wilder tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Before we include some calls, Dr. Lee, has forensics already played their part in this case?
LEE: I don't think so. I, of course, you know, they found the two bullets in the victim's body. Now the job is to link the bullet to that gun, particular gun. Of course, once that gun -- they're going to search a lot of records through the witnesses, through the documentation, try to link Blake to this case.
The gunshot residue, it's not that bad an issue yet, depends on what kind of test they conduct. If they're using a scanning electromicroscope with the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), that can be more serious. If they just did the chemical test on (UNINTELLIGIBLE), that can be explained so many other environmental contamination, for example. You can do fertilizer and other stuff can cause such a false positive test.
So now, finding gunshot residue depends on what test they conduct and how many particle they found on his hand, also his clothing. In addition, there is some information say they found a bloody glove. If that's the case, you know, of course, the glove should test for fingerprints.
KING: Now, Johnnie, it's the defense's role to try to take the medical examiner, as you did in the Simpson case, and break him down, right?
COCHRAN: Yes. To question him, cross-examine him, right.
KING: To cause the jury to question his ability or his findings?
COCHRAN: Really his findings. And, you know, if along the way, this person is not as qualified as the expert you bring in, you show that also, Larry.
But, basically, you deal with what the facts are and you go after vigorously. And you need great experts like a Dr. Henry Lee on this issue of whether or not the gunshot residue, what caused it and whether or not it is a false positive. I think that becomes very, very imperative.
And Harland is very effective, you know, in court. I mean, for that matter, Pat Dixon, I know him. I knew him as a young lawyer, is also very passionate. So you're going to see a real battle.
GERAGOS: They've got -- the D.A.'s office has literally got, in my opinion, the best and the brightest on this case. Pat Dixon, who is the head of major crimes and Craig Dohi, who I've got a case with right now and I know personally, these are two of the best D.A.s in that office. And Harland, as you know, is one of the best lawyers in town. So you're going to have about as pitched a battle as you're going to find.
KING: Enola, Arkansas. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. I'd like to ask this question. I've been watching this for about a year now. And I understand that they said that they never found any blood on Robert Blake. And I would like to find out, they said that they didn't have any blood on him. What makes them think that he might have done this?
KING: Nancy, if there's no blood on him, shouldn't there be blood on him?
GRACE: Well, theoretically, yes. If he did pull the trigger, there could be back blow on his hand or somewhere on his clothing. But another interesting thing I wanted to point out, and Dr. Lee or Johnnie may know about this, and that is it also depends on where that gun residue is on the hand. Now, if the defense wants to claim, Larry, that he simply had residue on his hand from handling his own gun that had recently been fired, that's one thing. But if they find gun powder residue down around his wrist and on the inside of his hand between his fingers, that would indicate that he had actually fired a gun and that the residue had landed down his wrist. That's going to be very interesting where they found the residue.
KING: You agree, Mark?
GERAGOS: Well, it is, except what's being reported now and the report that's come out is that apparently, they have said it is inconclusive from the GSR and that it could be just consistent with somebody who is in the environment. That conclusion is consistent with the fact that he had his own gun. The more compelling evidence, if they've got it, and I don't know that they do because it didn't come out today, is if the murder weapon -- if they had somehow had linked that to Robert Blake, then what's he going to say? Of all the dumpsters in the whole world, my gun just happens to be in that dumpster? No, that would have been a pretty substantial piece of evidence.
COCHRAN: And, Mark, don't you think also the fact of the ammunition, if there's some linkage between the ammunition in that particular weapon...
GERAGOS: Exactly. If there's linkage between...
COCHRAN: ... and his ammo at home.
GRACE: Well, there is a link. We know that Blake's ammo at his home was the same ammo used in this World War II collector weapon that is the murder weapon.
GERAGOS: The same ammo, if it's...
GRACE: In that box of ammo, three bullets were missing.
GERAGOS: If it's from the same lot...
GRACE: She took one bullet and the gun still had two bullets left in it.
GERAGOS: If it's from the same lot, that would be compelling evidence, Nancy.
KING: Let me get a break. We'll be right back with more on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. A look at "The Honeymooners" on Friday night. Don't go away.
KING: Taking another call. Tupelo, Mississippi. Hello? CALLER: Hello. My question is is it possible that the defense could focus too much on exposing Bonny Lee's past that it could backfire?
KING: Johnnie said that. Nancy, do you agree? Is it a backfire to go against the deceased?
GRACE: Larry, I've had a lot of juries that don't like it when the defense instead of defending themselves attack the victim. And it does make you wonder, why do they immediately go on the offense against the wife, Bonny Lee Bakley? It's very unusual at this stage of the game. And I think it will be like a boomerang and come back to hit the defense in the neck.
GERAGOS: You know, I couldn't disagree more, but I guess that's expected when Nancy is talking. The problem is, Nancy, what is Harland supposed to do? They're out there. They've announced -- you know, the chief gets up there and says this crime has been solved. They say that he's the one who did it. Harland knows for a fact that when this originally was done, they didn't want to look at any of those six steamer trunks with 14,000 pages of documents that shows that this woman had a number of people who wanted to do harm to her. And now, we find out if Harland's correct, that there's six people like six times said they wanted to kill her.
GRACE: Like some guy is going to travel cross-country to kill Bonny Lee Bakley over a train fare, over a $60 train fare.
GERAGOS: How many crazies in L.A. do we have that have traveled cross-country to kill people who they thought were either celebrities or anything else and they end up committing crimes here?
GRACE: Who was the last person with Bonny Lee Bakley alive? Robert Blake.
GERAGOS: And that's not going to get you a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.
KING: Johnnie, would you ever put a deceased on trail, in a sense?
COCHRAN: You know, sometimes. And I think what you've got to do -- a lot of times, the jurors wants to know, well, if he didn't do it, who did it. We were always plagued by that question in the Simpson case.
But I think you've got to be careful though, and I think Mark would agree with this. If you go too far and if a jury becomes angry that this defense that some other dude did it, that can go too far and the jurors can become upset. Now clearly, they want to demonstrate that there are other people who had some motive or some inclination or some reason to kill her. And that's why this other evidence becomes so important of the alleged solicitation.
This is an interesting indictment. You look at it. There are 18 overt acts and there are four counts here which involve -- two involve solicitation. It'll be very interesting to see whether these guys come forward and whether or not they're credible because that's going to be very important evidence.
GERAGOS: And the other thing is is under California law, the only way you can get this type of evidence into a courtroom through third-party liability is you've got to make a showing, a threshold showing, that you've got somebody, that there's credible evidence, that you can blame it on somebody else. And the way that you do that is to outline exactly what it is for the judge and the judge allows you to get into it. And that's what jurors want to hear.
GRACE: If that's all well and good, then why don't you do it in the courtroom instead of on the television trying to smear a dead woman's reputation?
GERAGOS: For the same reason that why does the chief get out there and say this crime is solved and poison the jury pool immediately and say this is the guy...
GRACE: He did not attack Blake's reputation.
GERAGOS: He didn't attack his reputation? He said he just committed murder and he pulled the trigger on his wife.
GRACE: I know, but he did not delve into his background and try to smear him the way they're doing Bonny Lee Bakley.
KING: Las Vegas, Nevada, hello. I think charging you with murder doesn't help your reputation.
GERAGOS: It's not exactly reputation enhancing.
CALLER: Yes. This is for anyone on the panel. If Mr. Blake gets acquitted, can he allow his daughter Delina to keep full custody of little baby Rosie?
KING: I think he would get her back, wouldn't he?
GERAGOS: He would get her back, but he could allow her to do it as long as anybody else -- and it is probably a better subject for the experts that you had before, but the way I understand the law is is that if he were acquitted and he wanted his daughter to remain as the guardian or if she had been named the guardian, he'd go along with that.
COCHRAN: I would agree with that. I think he would get her back unless he just wanted to designate someone else, clearly.
KING: Only have a minute left. Dr. Lee, do you respect a lot the LAPD's forensics division?
LEE: Yes, I think they improved in quality quite a bit in recent years. Of course, you know, this case, the bottom line is how to tie Blake to this shooting incident. And through the weapon tracing or through the physical evidence, that's so important is somehow provide a link, either the witnesses or the physical evidence. KING: Johnnie, this should be a fascinating trial, shouldn't it?
COCHRAN: It should be fascinating. There are good lawyers on both sides. And we should remember, Larry, despite all the publicity, he's still presumed innocent until a jury decides. That's what's great about this country. That's what makes these trials so very, very important.
KING: Thank you all very much. Mark Geragos, defense attorney; Nancy Grace of Court TV, the former prosecutor; Johnnie Cochran, defense attorney; and Dr. Henry Lee, the internationally renowned forensic expert.
Today marks my 45th anniversary in broadcasting. What a thrill and a privilege it has been. This month, we're going to be running some of our favorite moments over the years.
Also, a little note: I launched my new online column today. It will appear every Wednesday. It's called "King's Things," updated each week. You can find it on cnn.com/larryking or AOL keyword Larry King.
Thank you for watching and we look forward to the years ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, JUNE 11, 1994)
OK, I'm going to have to interrupt this call. I understand we're going to go to a live picture in Los Angeles, is that correct? OK. This is Interstate 5 and this is courtesy of KCAL, one of our L.A. affiliates. Police believe that O.J. Simpson is in that car. OK. Police believe he's in that vehicle.
Now, police radio is saying that Simpson has a gun at his head. Police radio saying that Simpson, the passenger in the car has a gun at his head, which has explained why they haven't been stopping him and why they haven't moved up alongside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no.
KING: If you've just joined us, this is LARRY KING LIVE in Washington. We're viewing a car apparently being driven by Al Cowling (ph), one of O.J.'s oldest friends and a former teammate at Southern Cal.
The California Highway Patrol has now confirmed to CNN that it is definitely Al Cowlings' vehicle, and they are almost certain that O.J. is in the passenger seat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, an extraordinary hour with a fellow you haven't seen in a while, Gene Wilder. One of the great actors, comedic actors, whatever, what a guy. Gene Wilder tomorrow night for the hour. And on Friday night, a tribute to Jackie Gleason and "The Honeymooners." Speaking of tributes, we begin the week with our tribute, to the host of "NEWSNIGHT", anchoring out of New York, steadfast and true, here he is, Aaron Brown.
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