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Blake Attorney Asks to Withdraw After Actor’s TV Interview

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- LOS ANGELES

Harland W. Braun asked to withdraw as Robert Blake’s criminal defense attorney Monday, saying the actor ignored his legal advice by agreeing to do an on-camera interview this week from jail.

“No criminal lawyer in his right mind would let a client (be interviewed for television),” Braun said.

Blake, 69, is charged with murder, two counts of soliciting murder and conspiracy in the May 4, 2001, fatal shooting of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, 44, in Los Angeles.

Braun said Blake’s defense could not be adequately summed up during a 10-minute television interview. He said he expressed those concerns to Blake last week but was overruled by his client.

“I just think there is no way I can be a party to this,” he said.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash, who is presiding over the case, must approve the lawyer’s withdrawal.

Braun said he would continue to represent Blake until another attorney is retained. But the substitution of attorneys could delay the preliminary hearing, now set for Dec. 11.

Braun faxed a two-page letter to Nash on Monday explaining his reasons for dropping out of the case.

“The idea that a defendant in a murder case would go on national television to discuss any aspect of his relationship with the deceased or any of the facts surrounding the murder is beyond the comprehension of any criminal lawyer,” Braun wrote.

Court Halts Sonic Project That May Have Killed 2 Whales

LOS ANGELES TIMES

A U.S. District Court order Monday temporarily halted a scientific voyage in the Gulf of California to map the sea floor using sound blasts that may have caused the death of two beaked whales.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Larson in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order against the National Science Foundation-sponsored project to examine the yawning rift in the sea floor caused by the movement in the Earth’s crust.

“We have turned off the sound. Everything is shut down on the ship,” said Curt Suplee, a National Science Foundation spokesman.

The research involved firing powerful air guns into the seabed so that researchers could map the area through acoustic signals that bounce back. The technology has been widely used in other oceans, Suplee said.

Researchers have found no evidence that the sonic blasts caused the whale deaths, Suplee said. But they will comply with the federal court order, which prematurely ends the expedition scheduled to finish by Nov. 4.