We're pretty sure this isn't the kind of bail Robert Blake was hoping for.
Harland Braun, the big-bucks, camera-ready lawyer defending Blake against charges the actor murdered his wife, says he's ejecting from the case because Blake has decided to do a TV interview on ABC.
"He insists on doing an interview on camera with Diane Sawyer," Braun tells the Associated Press. "I think it's insane for a person charged with a crime to go on camera to answer questions about the case. No lawyer in the country would allow a defendant to do this."
Braun says he's worried something Blake says might be taken out of context.
The jailhouse Q&A would take part on Friday, says Braun, who has been Blake's attorney of record since the murder of Bonny Lee Bakley in May 2001. Braun says the sit-down was brokered by Blake's civil lawyer, Barry Felsen, who invited Sawyer and her camera crew to Blake's cell.
In a statement, Felsen says the TV interview is the best way for Blake to make his case to his fans. "Robert has been in charge of Robert all his life and has had a relationship with the American public for 60 years...they are just like family. He thinks if he only lets his lawyers speak for him, [the American public will] think he's guilty."
But Braun's decision to quit--not to mention the interview itself--is far from a done deal.
In order for Braun to resign, the presiding judge must okay a change of counsel. With Blake's preliminary hearing date of December 11 fast approaching, it remains uncertain whether Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash would approve.
In a letter to the judge obtained by Los Angeles' City News Service, Braun writes, "The idea that a defendant in a murder case would go on national television to discuss any aspect of his relationship with the deceased or any of the facts surrounding the murder is beyond the comprehension of any criminal lawyer."
Braun adds that Blake and Felsen "have every right to choose whatever strategy they deem appropriate. But I have no obligation to participate in this strategy, which I believe defies common sense."
He also says the transition to a new legal team "should not be too difficult." Meanwhile, Los Angeles' KCAL 9 television station reports Blake is already lining up replacements for Braun.
Meanwhile, the interview still needs to be greenlighted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which oversees the county jail. A spokesperson says that such requests are usually nixed. Besides, the rep explains, jailhouse interviews require permission from both the inmate and the attorney of record. And until the judge approves a counsel change, Braun is still the attorney of record.
No immediate word on when Nash might review Braun's request. The D.A., meanwhile, says it wants a "speedy" hearing and hopes Braun's maneuver won't affect the December date.
Blake, whose Braun-spearheaded bail attempts have repeatedly been thwarted by Nash, has previously done a jailhouse interview by phone with the Associated Press, but this would be the first one televised.