October 08, 2002 12:00 PM

Robert Blake, who’s been behind bars since his April 18 arrest on charges of murdering his wife, won the right on Monday to a bail hearing that could set him free until trial. Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash set a bail hearing for the ex-“Baretta” star for Wednesday, Reuters reports. The decision comes after last week’s ruling by the California Supreme Court ordering sheriff’s authorities to explain why he had not yet had one.

Blake, 69, is charged with the May 4, 2001, slaying of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, 44, who was shot while sitting in the family car after she and her husband had dinner in a restaurant near their San Fernando Valley home.

In court on Monday, according to Reuters, Blake — whose hair has gone back to a natural shade of white — appeared chipper in his blue, pin-striped suit. He smiled and waved to supporters as he entered Judge Nash’s chambers but did not speak during the brief hearing.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Blake’s attorney, Harland Braun, claims that prosecutors wanted to keep his client in jail as a tactical advantage to prevent him from assisting in his own defense.

“The lying-in-wait allegation has no practical effect other than to deny him bail,” Braun said. “If Robert Blake had been an Al Qaeda guy arrested at the airport with dynamite strapped to him, he would have had a bail hearing within three days.”

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