In anticipation of Phil Spector’s retrial in September, his lawyers filed a motion July 15 requesting that "the most damaging evidence offered" – the testimony of five women who alleged in his first trial that the music producer threatened them with guns – be excluded.
Spector attorneys Dennis Riordan and Doron Weinberg said the women’s stories, some of which were three decades old, were "classic ‘bad character’ evidence that has been, and remains, inadmissible" under the law and that the "uncharged incidents" were ultimately irrelevant to the case.
"None involved an act similar to the one that the state was attempting to prove here, i.e. that Spector fired a gun," Riordan and Weinberg argued, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Spector is accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson at his Southern California mansion on February 3, 2003. Clarkson was killed by a gunshot to her mouth by a revolver that revealed no fingerprints. The defense says it was self-inflicted by accident or suicide. After meeting for about 44 hours over 12 days, the jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting him and a mistrial was declared in September.
Prosecutors say the women’s testimony shows a pattern of behavior similar to that led to Clarkson’s death. They say the 67-year-old threatened women who rejected his drunken sexual advances.
The prosecution has asked to allow a videotape and transcript of testimony by Dianne Ogden, who testified against Spector and died after the previous trial. A day before Spector’s lawyers filed their motion, prosecutors said they had found a sixth woman to testify against the music producer.
The new witness, Norma Kemper, who worked as Spector’s assistant from 1996 to 2000, told investigators that in 1996 Spector had taken her to the Hollywood, Calif., restaurant Dan Tana’s – which he visited the night of Clarkson’s death. When she turned down a romantic gesture from Spector he showed her a holstered gun under his jacket and said, "You know I could kill you right now." Spector also took Kemper to the House of Blues, where he met Clarkson as a hostess the night of her death.
Weinberg said the similarity in locations meant nothing and said, "Like so many other Hollywood people, he has places he goes to."
The defense has also asked to exclude the testimony of some of the prosecution’s forensic expert witnesses and requested that murder be the only option on which the jury can vote, excluding lesser offenses such as voluntary manslaughter or second-degree murder.