Baretta may still be broke, but he's no longer bankrupt.
A judge rendered void Robert Blake's bankruptcy filing Wednesday, leading the actor to request a new trial in the wrongful death lawsuit of his slain wife that resulted in a $30 million judgment against the aging TV star.
Blake was initially ordered to fork over the hefty sum to the family of Bonnie Lee Bakley last November, after the jury in a civil trial determined he had "intentionally caused" the 2001 murder of his spouse. But the doling out of damages was postponed last month when the 72-year-old filed for bankruptcy, claiming his assets amounted to less than $500,000.
Per law, the bankruptcy filing put an indefinite halt on the payout proceedings, a feat Blake managed only because the jurist in his civil trial, Superior Court Judge David Schracter, failed to immediately sign the official entry of judgment, waiting several months to officiate the verdict, as he was out on medical leave.
So long as his bankruptcy case remained pending, Blake was not required to pony up any damages. Not, that is, until yesterday.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Geraldine Mund annulled Blake's bankruptcy filing, reinstating the civil trial's original multimillion-dollar judgment.
"It means that, by agreement of the parties, the judgment that was entered in the state court after the Chapter 11 was filed will be treated as valid, and post-trial motions challenging the verdict will be processed in the state court starting next week," David R. Weinstein, Blake's bankruptcy attorney said.
In other words: Now that Blake can no longer claim he's broke, he's shooting for a retrial in the original judgment.
According to the actor's lawyers, Blake's legal team will likely file a motion requesting a new trial next week.
"Parties--meaning Mr. Blake and Ms. Bakley's estate--agreed that the stay could be annulled and that judgment made effective, which, in turn, means it can now be attacked," Weinstein told reporters.
Meanwhile, Blake, who was acquitted on criminal charges of murdering Bakley nearly a year ago, has said he plans on making more than a legal comeback.
"I can be an actor no matter what happens," he told the Associated Press in an interview. "I was in the middle of a job when my father committed suicide and I went to work the next day...I've woken up some nights and wanted to drive till the car goes off a cliff. And an hour later, poetry is coming out of me. I want to go act. I want to go teach. I want to dance.
"I'd like to give my best performance," Blake said. "I'd like to leave a legacy...I'm not ready for a dog and fishing pole yet. I'd like to go to bed each night desperate to wake up each morning and create some magic."
During the interview, given before the court's overturning of his bankruptcy filing, Blake reiterated his dire financial situation, claiming he was broke and living solely off his Social Security and Screen Actors Guild pensions.
He says he's currently nothing more than a glorified "stable boy," spending his days at a friend's ranch, exercising their horses. But he claims he's not down.
"I'm not on trial anymore. You're dealing with Michael James Gubitosi," he said, referring to himself by his birth name. "I'm going to survive no matter what."