Robert Blake has scored a court victory, after a judge in the actor's wrongful death case ruled that his late wife Bonny Lee Bakley's colourful past can be detailed during the trial.

In making the ruling yesterday (24AUG05), Los Angeles Superior Court Judge DAVID SCHACTER rejected a request by Bakley family attorney ERIC DUBIN to bar information about her past, including her practice of selling nude photos of herself.

The judge wrote, "This evidence is directly relevant to determine the issue of damages and to Blake's defence."

The ruling is seen as a victory for members of Blake's defence team, who want to prove that others had motives to kill Bakley.

The BARETTA star, 72, was acquitted in March (05) of charges of murder and solicitation of murder in the 2001 shooting death of Bakley outside a Los Angeles restaurant.

During his criminal trial, both sides portrayed Bakley as a con woman who trapped Blake into marrying her by becoming pregnant. Prosecutors conceded Bakley sold nude photos of herself through the mail to lonely men.

Jury selection in the civil case is set to begin on Monday (29AUG05).

The lawsuit was filed in 2002 on behalf of Bakley's four children. Blake's former handyman, EARL CALDWELL, is also named as a defendant.