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Blake surprised by acquittal

March 22, 2005 at 2:41 PM

NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) -- "Baretta" star Robert Blake, acquitted in the 2001 slaying of his wife, told ABC's Barbara Walters Tuesday she had "saved his life."

"I'd gotten so brainwashed over the past five years," Blake said Tuesday on "Good Morning America." "Being thought of as America's Saddam Hussein, I thought, 'Why not croak and get it over with? Go see the boss.'"

Blake credited Walters for his acquittal in a statement after the verdict was announced, saying "Barbara Walters, God bless you, darling. I would have never got out of the joint without you. God bless you, Barbara, wherever you are."

Blake would not speculate as to who he thought killed Bonny Lee Bakely, only saying, "She led the kind of life where she made a lot of enemies."

Blake said he realized he "was going to have to live again" after being surprised by the verdict, adding, "If Uncle Sam woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I'd be out on the street with a guitar, because I owe him a lot of money. I'm broke as a church mouse."

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