The Court Jester
Of his own comments related to the deposition, Dubin said, "I was attacked and tried to defend myself."
--- Thomas Mesereau's and Eric Dubin's testimonies in civil court on name calling charges
Eric J. Dubin, civil attorney hired by the Bakleys, came to court every morning bright and early to hob nob with the press, the police, and the prosecution, before the judge and jury were present. He sat on the left side of the gallery, in the area infamously known as the vultures’ nest. Here, astute reporters who had no intention of reporting the truth gathered with their Starbucks to discuss bowties and other police related matters.
Dubin’s bright shining face was ever overshadowed by his lack of taste in clothes. Telltale signs of ill-fitting shoulders and gangly sleeves said Dubin buys his suits off the rack. (A note to Dubin here: Famous lawyers are never caught dead in untailored garments.)
On February 17, 2005, Dubin was an unwilling participant in the Robert Blake case for the defense. It appeared that Dubin, who pointed out he had been an attorney for 13 years, was unable to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to any question.
“Are you the attorney representing Bonny Bakley’s family?” defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach asked.
Dubin replied, “I’m a wrongful death civil attorney…” blah, blah, blah...
Schwartzbach stopped him, and explained that Dubin needed to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to yes or no questions.
Schwartzbach tried another yes or no question, but did not get a yes or no response. This time, it was the judge’s turn to explain yes or no. Judge Darlene Schempp reached over to the witness stand, rapped on it with her knuckles, and proceeded to explain what the appropriate response is to a yes or no question.
Schwartzbach again made another attempt at a yes or no question. “Is there a (civil) lawsuit pending at this time?”
“No,” Dubin said. A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, the gallery grapevine cheered. But Dubin had a 50 percent chance he’d get it wrong. Which he did.
Schwartzbach asked the question again. This time Dubin replied, “The case is on stay, so it is not pending.”
Schwartzbach then asked Dubin if he knew what “pending” meant in a court of law, which evoked snickers from the real lawyers in the audience.
Enough was enough. Schwartzbach decided on another legal tactic for this witness known as dummying down the questions. “Was a complaint filed?” he asked.
“Yes,” Dubin replied. The gallery grapevine gave Dubin a 10 for the answer.
“Was it in 2002?” Schwartzbach asked.
“I don’t know,” replied the Dubious Dubin. The grapevine sighed and scored Dubin another zero.
Schwartzbach had to refresh Dubin’s memory on the civil complaint made against Blake and Earle Caldwell by showing Dubin his own paperwork. Schwartzbach also pointed out that the complaint was amended on May 2, 2002. Interestingly, the amendment stated that if Blake was acquitted of murder in criminal court, the Bakley estate would continue to sue him for not protecting Bonny Lee Bakley from harm. Murder or protection? One wonders what the Bakley family knew in May 2002 to file an amendment that would insure they would get Blake’s money regardless of the outcome.
“Is Rosie your client?” asked Schwartzbach.
“Yes,” answered Dubin.
“Do you know,” asked Schwartzbach, “whether or not Rosie has been legally adopted?”
“I don’t believe she has,” replied Dubin, stating that he thought Delinah Blake had full custody.
“Have you spoken with Delinah Blake?” asked Schwartzbach.
At this point, Dubin invoked his right to client-attorney priviledge. The judge promptly revoked it.
“I am asking you if you have any retainer agreement with Delinah Blake,” said Schwartzbach.
“No,” replied Dubin.
The real lawyers in the gallery exchanged smirks. They knew they had something up on Dubin for they all knew that in order to have a client -- you must have a contract.
Samuels felt that silence was the better part of valor and declined to cross-examine. Dubin made a hasty retreat.
A sidebar story:
I was in the elevator with the infamous Eric J. Dubin and a reporter one afternoon. There had been some testimony earlier about Dean Martin, and Dubin felt he had something to say about it. He looked suspiciously around the elevator, apparently looking for spies. Apparently, he didn’t know I was one. So he started to talk. He said he hadn’t heard the Dean Martin story before. He said that Bonny dated Dean, then he corrected himself and said she had dinner with him. It was dinner, he said.
Dubin turned to the hungry reporter, though I’m not sure whether he was hungry for a quote or just lunch, and confessed he had a picture of Bonny and Dean hanging in his office.
What a strange thing to have in his office, I thought – a picture of a grifter fleecing her victim. Oh, well, after all, Dubin is an ambulance chaser.