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Robert Blake Spills His Story for TV

It came at the expense of two defense attorneys and a court battle, but Robert Blake got to tell his side of a real-life crime story to Barbara Walters.

The jailhouse interview lasted for about 2 1/2 hours, and the segment is set to air Feb. 28 on ABC's 20/20.

Blake, 69, the former Baretta 1970s television star, has pleaded innocent to charges he murdered his wife, 44-year-old Bonny Lee Bakley, in 2001.

The interview Monday came after two of Blake's defense attorneys quit his case as they disagreed with their client over whether he should grant any TV interviews.

County Sheriff Lee Baca approved a request by Walters to speak with Blake at the jail. Baca said he reversed his decision after being swayed by Walters' argument that she had conducted interviews there in the past.

Blake had tried to set up interviews with Walters and Diane Sawyer for months, despite the objections of his defense attorneys. Harland Braun and Jennifer L. Keller both resigned from the case after Blake continued pursing the interviews.

Blake's lawyer, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., said he would stand by Blake even though he strongly disagrees with his client's decision. He said he empathized with Blake's desire to speak out.

"He's an innocent man and I'm going to defend him," Mesereau said Monday. "I am concerned, however, that prosecutors will try to take what he says out of context and manipulate and misconstrue his statements."

Blake has been held without bail since his April 18, 2002, arrest. A preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 26.