The latest lawyer to represent troubled actor Robert Blake in his murder trial has requested a judge delay the trial, because he won't be prepared for the currently scheduled September (04) start date.

GERALD SCHWARTZBACH - who is the fourth attorney to defend Blake, and has been doing so since March (04) - made his plea at a hearing at the Van Nuys courthouse in California on Friday (18JUN04).

Schwartzbach denied he was intentionally delaying the case, instead arguing he needs the time to study boxes of audio and video recordings and to look at over 60,000 pages of evidence.

He said, "It's highly unlikely I can be ready by 9 September (04).

"Mr Blake wants to see this case go to trial as soon as possible. He wants to be vindicated as soon as possible. But he wants me to be prepared."

And the lawyer - who has relocated from San Francisco to Los Angeles to represent Blake - was keen to point out to the judge that the reason for the delay has nothing to do with how much he will get paid.

He said, "My fee does not go up one penny if this case is continued. It's not humanly possible for me to do more than I have been doing."

Prosecution lawyers argue Blake is changing his legal representation in order to continuously delay the start of the trial.

Former BARETTA star Blake, 70, is charged with the 2001 murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley. He denies the charge.

21/06/2004 17:34