Opening statements began April 25th in the murder trial of producer Phil Spector.
Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson used most of his presentation to outline what he called a pattern of violent behavior in which Spector would get drunk, take a woman to his home and then refuse to let her leave, threatening her with a gun when she tried.
Jackson’s description mirrored the basic allegations in the death of actress Lana Clarkson, who was found shot to death in 2003 in the foyer of Spector’s home. Prosecutors are proceeding on a theory of "implied malice," alleging Spector did not intend to kill Clarkson but caused her death through reckless behavior.
Jackson pointed out how far Spector had fallen from the public eye, noting that Clarkson did not recognize him. The hostess at the House of Blues tried to keep him out of the Foundation Room and may have at first thought he was a woman.
The prosecutor also presented video from a HoB security camera that showed Clarkson leaving with Spector after he finally persuaded her to come home with him.
Several in the courtroom laughed when a 911 recording was played, and the 911 operator didn’t understand what Spector’s limo driver was telling her and mistook "Phil Spector" for "Seal Inspector."
Defense attorney Bruce Cutler countered that Clarkson’s death was an accident, and took great pains to present Spector as a hardworking man with a rags-to-riches story who is the victim of a campaign by overly zealous investigators to portray him as a murderer.