Slain Wife's Letter Used in Blake's Defense

A defense attorney in the wrongful-death lawsuit against Robert Blake (search) on Tuesday tried to bolster the theory that many people wanted the actor's wife dead.

Attorney Peter Ezzell (search) cited a letter written by Bonny Lee Bakley (search) to her probation officer that claimed "I've almost been killed a half a dozen times."

Neither Ezzell nor Blake elaborated on what Bakley was referring to. Blake indicated the letter was written between November 1999 and June 2000, when Bakley was pregnant with the couple's daughter, Rosie, now 5.

Blake was acquitted of murder in March, but Bakley's children are now suing him for damages, claiming he was responsible for her death in 2001. The actor, who did not testify in his criminal trial, has been on the stand in the civil trial since last week.

Bakley, 44, was found shot to death in Blake's car outside a restaurant where they had dined.

Blake has repeatedly denied killing his wife. He claims he left Bakley in the car to go back inside the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he carried for protection but accidentally left behind, then found her dead when he went back outside.

Blake also was questioned Tuesday about private investigators he had look into his wife's past, which included a mail-order business in which she used nude pictures of herself and promises of sex to get money from men.

Asked why he would investigate Bakley, Blake said, "If you had a kid who did drugs, wouldn't you look into it? ... And see if they are lying to you?"