LOS ANGELES – A judge on Monday blocked prosecutors' request to take advance testimony from an elderly witness who might not be available for Robert Blake's (search) murder trial.
Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp ruled on the request in a closed court session, but did not give a specific reason. Reporters were told of the decision by Blake's defense lawyer, Gerald Schwartzbach, and Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.
Blake, the 70-year-old star of the old "Baretta" (search) TV show, is accused of killing his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, in 2001. She was found shot to death in their car outside a restaurant where they had dined.
Witness William C. Jordan had worked for Blake as a private investigator in the actor's attempt to gain custody of his child with Bakley, 44.
Prosecutors said they wanted to examine Jordan now because he is over 70, and that the law allows for such "conditional examinations" of elderly witnesses.
Blake's first two attorneys resigned after Blake pursued media interviews against their advice. A third lawyer, Thomas Mesereau Jr., stepped down in February because of "irreconcilable differences" with his client. Mesereau is now Michael Jackson's (search) new lawyer.
Blake's trial is scheduled for Sept. 9.