Marlon Brando's son, Christian, who faces trial for the shooting death of his sister's Tahitian lover, is scheduled to be released from jail today after a judge agreed to accept the actor's $4-million estate as bond.
In a half-hour hearing Tuesday, Santa Monica Superior Court Judge David Perez said he would allow the actor to post his Mulholland Drive home as collateral for guaranteeing the younger Brando's return to court. Trial is set for Oct. 9.
Brando, 32, is charged with murder in the shooting of Dag Drollet, the Tahitian boyfriend of Christian's half-sister, Cheyenne.
Perez last week reduced bail from a record $10 million, which the judge termed excessive, to $2 million. Brando, who has spent nearly three months in jail, had originally been denied bail.
Marlon Brando, sworn in at Tuesday's hearing, told the judge it would be a "privilege" to put up his 12-room home as security. California law stipulates that when property is posted, it must be worth twice as much as the amount of bail.
"This offers . . . Christian the opportunity to show he is ready, willing and able to fulfill his civic duty," the Academy Award-winning actor said.
Brando added that he hoped the prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven Barshop, whom he termed "intractable," would be "surprised" and "disappointed" to see that Christian Brando meets his future court dates.
Perez also ordered that Brando refrain from consuming alcohol, or any non-prescription drugs or narcotics, and he must undergo regular testing to prove he is drug-free. The elder Brando has said his son is an alcoholic and has used drugs.
Perez cautioned the defendant that if he fails to appear at court proceedings, his father's home will be sold.
After the hearing, the two Brandos embraced, the father patting his son on the back and kissing him on the head before the defendant was led away by bailiffs.
A tense exchange between Marlon Brando and Barshop followed.
Brando accused the prosecution of having reduced his son's life to zero. Barshop responded that that, precisely, was what Christian Brando had done to Drollet.
Marlon Brando started to grab Barshop's arm as the prosecutor walked away, shaking his head.
Later, at a noisy press conference in front of the courthouse, with eager paparazzi shoving for a vantage point, Brando said he had hoped Barshop had changed his "conception of my son as a slathering mad-dog killer."
Brando also said he was "deeply, deeply relieved" that his son would be leaving jail. "This is an extraordinary moment, one I have long looked forward to," he said, adding he believed that the "best" verdict he could expect of the trial would be accidental manslaughter.
The actor announced he was setting up a $1-million trust fund for Drollet's 4-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. The girl lives in Tahiti, where Cheyenne Brando fled after the slaying and has since given birth to Drollet's second child.
Drollet, 26, was killed May 16 at the Brando estate. Christian Brando has admitted shooting him, but said it was accidental.
Prosecutors maintain that he premeditated the killing, shooting Drollet as he watched television.
Christian Brando was expected to leave the Men's Central County Jail at 10:30 a.m. today. His attorney, Robert Shapiro, said the release was arranged for that time to guarantee the "safety and security of everyone involved," including, presumably, journalists who have been staking out the downtown area facility for several days in anticipation of Brando's release.