(Mar. 7) -- A month after Robert Blake filed for bankruptcy, the actor asked a judge to void a jury's $30 million verdict in the wrongful-death lawsuit won by the children of his slain wife, his attorneys said Monday.
Blake was acquitted last year in criminal court of murdering Bonny Lee Bakley. But a civil court jury that found he "intentionally caused" her death and awarded her children millions in damages.
His attorneys filed court papers, saying the civil court judge was ill after the November trial and did not enter the judgment until seven days after Blake had filed for bankruptcy. The belated entry means that as a matter of law the judgment is void, according the attorneys.
They said that a bankruptcy filing results in an automatic stay of all other proceedings against Blake and the judge in the civil case may no longer have jurisdiction.
However, the lawyers said they were filing a notice of a motion for new trial "as a precaution and under protest" to preserve all of Blake's rights.
Eric Dubin, who represented the Bakley family in the civil suit, said he was confident that the verdict will stand.
"The verdict is not dischargeable in bankruptcy court because it involved an intentional act," Dubin said. He said he believes Blake has the assets to pay the $30 million and is hiding money somewhere.
"We're being very aggressive and we anticipated this," he said. "We have help now in locating the assets. I'm going to be able to depose Blake and his accountants."
M. Gerald Schwartzbach, another of Blake's attorneys, said the actor does not have enough funds to pay his back taxes of $1.5 million and "Everybody gets in line behind the government."
Bakley was shot to death on May 4, 2001, in a car outside a restaurant where she and Blake had dined. Blake said he left her in the car briefly to return to the restaurant.
Judge David Schacter did not rule on whether the judgment was void because of bankruptcy provisions. He set an April 7 hearing to consider the motion for a new trial.
Blake is due in bankruptcy court on March 22 for a hearing that may decide which court has jurisdiction.