Spector Trial Heats Up
As jury selection resumed in Los Angeles for the murder trial of Phil Spector, his attorneys tried unsuccessfully to block testimony from a former lover.
Spector’s defense team, led by Bruce Cutler, said they intend to prove that Lana Clarkson was despondent over her career and financial problems and took her own life, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 40-year-old actress was found shot to death in the foyer of Spector’s home in February 2003.
The defense cited e-mails to friends, and events such as the loss of a coveted role as Marilyn Monroe in an upcoming film, as evidence of her depression. Cutler argued against a motion by the prosecution to make her mental state off-limits.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler granted a motion by prosecutors April 10th to allow Debra Robitalle, a former employee and paramour of Spector’s, to testify that the producer threatened to shoot her when she attempted to leave his house on two separate occasions.
The ruling brings to five the number of women who will testify regarding Spector’s alleged violent behavior.
Fidler also cautioned prospective jurors not to view the trial as an opportunity to have their moment in the spotlight.
"This case is not about you," Fidler told nearly 100 prospective jurors at the start of the proceedings. "This criminal justice system works extremely well if we end up with 12 impartial jurors willing to be fair to both sides.
"There are some people looking for their 15 minutes of fame. We’re not looking for that kind of juror."
However, finding a totally impartial jury may prove to be a Herculean feat, as many prospective jurors declared they had already decided Spector was guilty.
Several prospects also implied that even if Spector did not shoot Clarkson, he was still responsible for her death because she was a guest in his home.
"If you have weapons in the house you want to make sure they’re not accessible, especially to guests," said one prospective juror when questioned on the matter by defense attorney Roger Rosen.