Skip to main content /transcript



Blake's Attorney on Bakley's Murder

Aired May 10, 2001 - 15:17   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The Boeing Corporation, after 85 years headquartered in Seattle, Washington, is moving to Chicago. Let's go live to Midway Field in Chicago. That's the governor of Illinois, George Ryan, introducing the dignitaries as Boeing pulls in on a Boeing business jet, a modified 737, to begin its stent in Chicago. There you see the mayor, Richard Daley.


MAYOR RICHARD DALEY, CHICAGO: All those who have worked so hard, Governor Ryan's staff, Pam McDonough, Speaker Hastert, Senator Durbin, the Congressional delegation, members of the general assembly, members of the city council, Alderman Hansen, Alderman Levar, members of the business community, John Madigan, Eden Martin, Jerry Roper, members of the World Business of Chicago, I thank them. I thank all the businesses and cultural community, education community represented here by Sylvia Manning, Chancellor of University of Illinois, Chicago campus, the presentation we made with the state and all of us together.

This is a partnership relationship that we have built up in this city, not just on this instance but for many, many years. And Phil, I welcome you to the city of Chicago, and especially the corporate community. This business community has been in the forefront with the governor and myself...

O'BRIEN: We're listening to Richard Daley formalizing what we've been reporting all day. The Boeing Corporation will move its corporate headquarters from Seattle, Washington to Chicago.

As that continues let's go live now to Los Angeles. The attorney for Robert Blake, Harlund Braun, making a statement, answering questions from reporters.

HARLAND BRAUN, ROBERT BLAKE'S ATTORNEY: ... some of it was taken from Robert's house, but...

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) theory they went off on?

BRAUN: Well, I think what they were doing is they were looking at physical evidence, the traditional criminal investigation, the guns, you know, powder tracing, eyewitnesses. And if they hit a wall with that, then they've got to look at the background of the people, the participants, both my client and the deceased, and this will enable them to look into her background for hints or clues.

Now, it is a very difficult case, because how do you search through this and how do you find people -- and someone who has had an interesting life, to say the least, over a quarter of a century -- but at least, better than having nothing.

QUESTION: What do you have there, letters, diaries, what?

BRAUN: There's -- well, it's a catalog of her business operations, currently as we have discussed, the lonely hearts thing. It's articles about her going back to the early '70s, pictures of her in the '70s, pictures -- slowing pictures with Elvis Presley, other stars, all types of things that I think the police could possibly use in a very difficult investigation. There's some...


BRAUN: You know, this is a very sad story. I mean, I first looked at this evidence, I thought this really was an evil person. But as you look through it, it was the L.A. sad story of someone who was good-looking, wanted to be famous, came out to be an actress, never connected and never could give up that dream of celebratedness.

And so it went from celebrity herself to attaching herself to celebrities, to having fantasies about celebrities, you know, and ultimately getting the celebratedness she had in her death rather than in her life. So, it's a terrible, terrible story.


BRAUN: That particular person, it would be Mr. Blake's bodyguard assistant is being questioned today later. He's the one who...

QUESTION: What is his name, sir?

BRAUN: Earl Caulfield. He'll be questioned today later, and he's the one who will be the key to that particular -- we don't know, in other words, we are throwing out all the evidence that we know, giving it to the police, we don't know what's right -- that may have nothing to do with this case. It could be just a random fan, or a random...

QUESTION: What is the bodyguard's name again?


QUESTION: Harland, can you spell his name?


QUESTION: Any letters in there, or anything (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

BRAUN: You know, here's the problem, is that now that we've turned it over to the Los Angeles police department, there's an advantage the investigators are going to have in keeping some facts not public, in case someone comes forward with information, they can check on it.

So, although we've talked quite a bit in the media to sort of steer the police to what we thought would be another aspect of their investigation, I would rather not discuss in actual detail...

QUESTION: When is he going to be questioned?

BRAUN: What?

QUESTION: Caulfield?

BRAUN: I know he is going to be questioned, I don't know...

QUESTION: Is your client concerned at all about the way he's been perceived up to this point in the press?

BRAUN: Well, you know what, he's got a cloud over him. You have to live with who you are and make your peace with your maker about what you really are rather than what people think you are. I mean, that's -- isn't that the problem with Hollywood? It's what people think you are rather what you really are? So, I think he's learning a fast lesson in reality.

QUESTION: How unusual is all of this? You bring -- I mean, cameras around, live TV, and we've got the cameras on you when you're unloading your car. How unusual is that?

BRAUN: This is Hollywood. I mean, this is a strange land, you know, where a case otherwise not interesting is interesting because the man was an actor, and every -- people out there feel that he's part of their life because they are fans, so I mean, we are all part of that. So, that's what the interest is, I think.


BRAUN: What?

QUESTION: During yesterday's search, what did they (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

BRAUN: I have no idea, we haven't gotten a receipt yet.


BRAUN: No, you have to understand, we -- what did you say?

QUESTION: Someone said (OFF-MIKE)?

BRAUN: Well, you know, I got a letter from the Los Angeles police department saying that these, in their opinion, are relevant evidence to their investigation. And they asked me for them. If they didn't think they were relevant, they wouldn't ask me for them.

So I think that they have reconsidered and realized this is a very difficult case, and they need every scrap of evidence that they can get, including anyone out there who knows anything about this case -- should call detective Ron Ito (ph) at the Los Angeles police department.

QUESTION: Can you tell us what was in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) trunks and all the luggage that came out of the back of that (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

BRAUN: She was a pack rat, and she kept every document that she was ever involved with, including an article about her being an Elvis stalker, articles about -- she was once apparently saved in a drowning, articles about a movie she was supposed to be in, pictures of a billboard on Sunset Boulevard that she bought once with her picture and a telephone number as an aspiring actress...

QUESTION: How is that (OFF-MIKE)?

BRAUN: Well, it's -- that's -- someone asked me what's in there. What may be relevant is her business and someone who she has cheated out of money or hurt her feelings, someone who thought that she was in love with him because of the letters.

The lockers contain a lot of the standard letters that she would send to different loved ones, people, as well as money that was sent in the last 30 days. So, that may be a clue.

Now, it may not be a clue, but the Los Angeles police department wrote me that this is relevant evidence, and I have an obligation to turn it over to them.

QUESTION: Following up on that, are you concerned with the safety of Mr. Blake, number one. And number two, what is his mental state right now?

BRAUN: I'm only concerned with his safety from the press that would mob him. So, that's my only concern.

Mentally, he's doing a lot better. I mean, he was able to calm down. He's got his blood pressure under control. He's concerned about his daughter and the rest of his family. He's interested in what we found in these trunks, of course, and that's how he's been occupying himself.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Hollywood community?

BRAUN: The funeral -- there's an negotiation going on now. I don't handle -- that's civil lawyers, but the family -- the family is talking to a civil lawyer asking for money from Mr. Blake, and so forth for the funeral.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for Mr. Blake from the Hollywood community?

BRAUN: Yes, there's a lot of support, but I don't particularly want to name them. I get a lot of calls from people that, in a way, I was thrilled to talk to.

QUESTION: How is the baby?

BRAUN: The baby is fine. The baby obviously doesn't know anything about this.

QUESTION: Pursuant to this thing about the bodyguard, how long has he had a bodyguard and why?

BRAUN: Well, you know, in Hollywood, people have what they call assistance, as well as bodyguards. So, basically people that will fend off fans and help you do things.

So, Mr. Caulfield has worked for him for about two years, and a bodyguard doesn't go around armed, but it's sort of a -- it's better than a star being alone and being accosted by a fan. That could be very troublesome. So, that's pretty standard.


BRAUN: Yes, he's the one who spotted him.

QUESTION: Mr. Braun, what -- is this evidence that was preserved after the initial search or after last night's search?

BRAUN: No, this was done -- the original search was Saturday. This evidence was taken from us on Sunday and preserved in another location, and then last night they asked me for it, and of course we arranged to come down here today.

QUESTION: Harland, what did they (OFF-MIKE)?

BRAUN: I don't know, because I don't have the returning search warrants yet.


BRAUN: But I didn't stay around to the end of the search, so we'll get -- we will get that information. They leave a receipt at that house, and I haven't had a chance to go over there yet.

QUESTION: Are you prepared if Mr. Blake is named as a suspect?

BRAUN: You know what, it doesn't make -- look, they -- the L.A. police department is investigating Mr. Blake thoroughly and his involvement in this case. And they should. And we invite them to investigate him.

So, whether were you call him a subject, a witness or a suspect, a police officer investigating this case has to keep an open mind about everyone. So, I think characterizing him in any way makes no sense. They want to call him a non-suspect, not even -- and just a witness, they still are going to have to investigate him. And we welcome that, and that's what they should be doing.


BRAUN: You know, we are not party -- we are member of the public, and the police don't tell me what they are doing. And they do that for a good reason, because a good portion of their investigation they want to keep secret, as they should. QUESTION: Harland, where was Mr. Caulfield, the bodyguard, Friday night?

BRAUN: That's sort of an interesting aspect of this case. Mr. Caulfield was in Northern California, because Bonny didn't like him, and wanted to substitute her brother for Mr. Caulfield as Mr. Blake's bodyguard. So, she was sort of annoyed with him, and in response to that, Robert sent him away because Bonny didn't particularly like him.

QUESTION: Why didn't she like him?

BRAUN: I don't know. I think she wanted to get her brother the job. But he traveled, in fact, Mr. Caulfield traveled for almost two weeks with two of them before this incident, so he was there to observe them together, he knows about the stalker, he's talked to her about various things. But I don't know -- that's up to the police who will be talking to him today.

QUESTION: Do you know which brother, do you know which -- Bonny's brother?

BRAUN: No, I don't know. Mr. Caulfield just told me that she wanted to have her brother in his stead, he didn't say which. I don't know how many brothers she has.


BRAUN: No, he doesn't. He doesn't have a hunch, he...

QUESTION: How would you describe his relationship with Bonny? Were they in love, were they...

BRAUN: You know, that's interesting. I mean, he would not have married her but for the fact that she is the mother of his daughter. He's very old-fashioned, and he's Italian, that's his blood, and his obligation is to sacrifice his happiness and his life for his blood. That's his responsibility.

So, he married someone he wouldn't have married, but he wanted to co-exist with her, he wanted to get her out of the sort of business she was in. And they actually seem to be getting along -- according to Mr. Caulfield -- pretty well on that trip. It's odd to call it a honeymoon, but they seemed to be having some fun together and enjoying each other's company.

So, I think he was coexisting. And maybe he could have developed it into something, had it continued that way.

QUESTION: How would you characterize the relation...

BRAUN: What?


BRAUN: It was forced in the sense that he was concerned if he didn't marry her, she could take his child and runoff. By marrying her -- and she wanted to a celebrity wife, so he offered that to her, and she needed someone to help support her, she wasn't married, so, it was a match.

Whether it would have lasted forever, I don't know, but remember, his child came first.


BRAUN: Because this wasn't a normal husband-wife situation, was it? Also, there were guns in the front. And I'm not sure whether she was legally allowed to be around guns.


BRAUN: Well, if I were her brother, and my sister were murdered, and I had some information, I would call Ron Ito (ph) of the Los Angeles Police Department with that information, rather than going on television or telling it to someone in the media.

So, I don't know whether she said that. I don't know whether he is making it up. I don't know whether she made something up. The police will realize, when they go through their goods, that's a world fantasy, she lived in a world of fantasy.

I mean, she claimed to be one of Elvis Presley's girlfriends. We have a photograph with her with Elvis Presley, so what more can I say about that?


BRAUN: There are tapes. She tape recorded her own conversations, so there's about 90 minutes of tape recordings of her conversations with various people discussing whether she should -- whether Blake is the right guy to go after her, or Christian Brando is the right guy to go after her, and which would get more money out of, and sort of discussing the sort of the star stalking strategy, if you will.


BRAUN: I returned it over; right.


BRAUN: I think it is Bakley.



BRAUN: He knows nothing. I don't know, that's bizarre. That's insane. The whole reason Robert married a woman he didn't want to marry was to be the father and to raise a child.

Robert has two wonderful children, he knows he could have raise this child, he had some concerns that, given Bonny's track record with her kids, that she was not the best mother. But he was willing to share his life with her for the sake of the daughter.


BRAUN: I'm afraid so. I'm afraid so. Because remember, if this is someone from her past, these officers here have a terrible, terrible, tough investigation. And all you guys expect it to like television and the movies, where they get a break. They may never get a break. Or they may get a break.


BRAUN: We made a lot of copies for ourselves. Yes.


BRAUN: With friends and family.


BRAUN: What? No, I can't say. I don't want to say. Thank you very much.


BRAUN: Yeah, he is in town.



O'BRIEN: We have been listening to Harland Braun, the attorney for Robert Blake. It's now been nearly a week since his wife Bonny Bakley was found shot dead in a restaurant in Los Angeles.

Robert Blake among the suspects being considered by Los Angeles police. Lots of evidence taken from the house at the compound he shared with Bonnie Bakley. And the investigation continues.

Mr. Braun, of course, fending off questions from reporters indicating a suspicion that is leveled toward Mr. Blake.

Let's take it over to Charles Feldman, who's been following this very closely. Charles, anything in there that stuck out in your mind, as far as what Mr. Braun was saying to reporters?

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, a lot of this has to do with his escalation of the legal defense strategy, which has been, from day one, to point out things in Bonny Bakley's past, that the defense attorney Harland Braun contends might have somehow led to her murder, to her death on Friday night.

So, that is why he is making a very big deal out of material that was in her home, which adjoined the property that Robert Blake lived in, as well as Robert Blake's home, that he says the police missed in their first sweep of the residences on Saturday, after they obtained the first quarter-appointed -- or court-authorized, I should say -- search warrant. So, this is material that his private investigator has gathered, and now given over, as you heard him say, to the Los Angeles Police Department.

He also talks about a tape recording. He says that Bonny Bakley recorded conversations she had on the telephone, where he allegations you can hear her talking about schemes to do all kinds of things with celebrities, including of course Robert Blake. So, that is among the items, he says, he has handed over to the Los Angeles Police Department.

As for his client, what I can tell you is that police sources still insist that they have not ruled anybody in or out, as regards this particular homicide, and that includes Robert Blake. They have not named anyone publicly as a suspect, but they did go back to his residence last night with yet another search warrant. And they also drove off with an automobile that was on the property. You can see that there now on videotape shot last night.

Exactly what they hoped to find in the automobile is unclear since that was not the car that Mr. Blake was in, or his wife at the time of the shooting on Friday night. So, this case is taking many interesting turns. This was a very contrived news conference. The lawyer, Harland Braun, was calling media outlets all over town this morning to make sure that everybody was aware that he was going to be handing over this material to the Los Angeles Police Department at high noon. And he wanted to make sure that it got ample media coverage, and he got his wish.

O'BRIEN: So, Charles, it seems like a fairly well-orchestrated effort there to discredit the victim in this case. That's a risky strategy, isn't it?

FELDMAN: Well, I did an interview with Harland Braun the other night that CNN ran, and in the interview, I asked him -- I said, he's ticking off all these things about what a horrible person he alleges Bonny Bakley was, and, of course, that does raise the issue in some people's minds about, wouldn't that provide a motive for his client to perhaps kill her.

And of course, he says that is quite right, but just because somebody has a problem with somebody in a relationship, of course, does not in and of itself, mean that they will kill someone. But it is, you're quite right, a double-edged sword.

And once you go down the road of trying to say all kinds of nasty things about the victim, those things could come back to haunt him as a defense attorney. But, presumably, he is thinking this out and this is his strategy, and he is trying to maximize his publicity and, thus far, he has succeed.

O'BRIEN: Charles, I didn't hear him address the issue of a lie detector, but he said in the past -- this past week I guess -- that a polygraph was not an appropriate thing at this juncture, that Mr. Blake would not agree to do so because of his emotional state. He did say his emotional state is much improved here, which begs the question, would he be entertained -- the prospect of a polygraph -- what are hearing from your sources?

FELDMAN: Well, I know -- when I talked to Harland Braun the other night, I asked him if any polygraph had been administered already and he said it had not. He also raised legal objections to the validity to the polygraph. Because in California, and in fact, in most states, I believe, a polygraph evidence is not admissible in court as evidence.

He pointed that out in the interview I did with him, indicating that he was not in favor of one, but he didn't rule it out either.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Charles Feldman watching this case from Los Angeles, thanks very much. He'll be back with us as events warrant.



Back to the top