Actor Robert Blake (search) says he once offered $250,000 to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the children of his murdered wife — a sum he no longer can afford.

Blake, acquitted last March of killing Bonny Lee Bakley (search), was in superior court Friday for a hearing on motions in the civil case, which also names former handyman Earl Caldwell as a defendant. Both men are scheduled to give depositions Monday.

Judge David M. Schacter denied a request by Blake's attorneys for a gag order and also refused to seal records.

Outside the courtroom, Blake said he now has only $150,000 in assets, adding he has authorized an inspection of his finances at his accountant's office.

"And if anybody ever finds that there's $5 hidden anywhere, I'm willing to go to Folsom (State Prison)," he said. "There is no agenda here."

Eric Dubin, who represents Bakley's four children, countered that Blake had $25 million as of late 2003.

Bakley, 44, was shot to death in May 2001 as she sat alone in a car outside a restaurant where she and Blake had just had dinner. The 71-year-old actor said he had returned to the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he'd left behind.