Robert Blake concocted a plot to gain custody of his infant daughter by kidnapping her from her mother, whom he is accused of killing, the actor's personal assistant testified Monday.
Cody Blackwell told jurors that she was unwittingly drawn into the plan to grab Rosie, Blake's daughter with Bonny Lee Bakley.
Under heavy cross-examination by defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach that left her in tears, Blackwell acknowledged that before she called police, she sold her story to a tabloid for $8,000.
"I was behind on my rent. I was about to lose my place," Blackwell testified.
Blake, 71, is charged with fatally shooting Bakley, 44, after they had dined at a Studio City restaurant on May 4, 2001. The actor, who if convicted of murder could face life in prison, is also accused of soliciting two stuntmen to commit the crime.
Much of the trial in Van Nuys has been devoted to Blake's obsession with Rosie, and his determination to separate her from Bakley, who once ran a mail- order pornography business.
Blackwell said Blake persuaded Bakley to temporarily hand over Rosie. But after Blake refused to return the infant, Bakley filed a kidnapping complaint with the Los Angeles Police Department. She dropped the charge when Blake agreed to marry her.