Prosecution Rests In Spector Retrial

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday after nine weeks of testimony in the murder retrial of legendary music producer Phil Spector. His first trial ended in a jury deadlock in 2007.

The final prosecution witness was Donna Clarkson, mother of Lana Clarkson, the 40-year-old actress who died of a gunshot through the mouth at Spector’s mansion in February 2003.

Donna Clarkson told a now-familiar story of spending her last day with her daughter shopping for new shoes for Lana Clarkson’s job as a hostess at the House of Blues nightclub. Her daughter died in the early hours of the next morning.

She said her daughter hoped to return to acting in movies and TV. Clarkson made a splash in the ’80s as the star of the cult film “Barbarian Queen.”

During the mother’s testimony, jurors saw a glamorous publicity photograph of Clarkson projected on a big screen.
Spector, 69, is famed for his “Wall of Sound” recording technique and hit songs including, “To Know Him is to Love Him” and “Be My Baby.”

Testimony at the second trial has mirrored the basic facts presented the first time around but has featured a different defense approach from attorney Doron Weinberg, who is new to the case and working without other lawyers. The first trial featured a defense team of five and was marked by discord among lawyers.

After the first jury hung 10-2 with the majority favoring conviction, Spector’s original defense team departed and he hired Weinberg, a well-reputed San Francisco lawyer.

Missing from the courtroom gallery is the large press contingent and the crowd of spectators that attended the first trial. Spector, wearing a long black frock coat and white slacks, was at the counsel table and his wife, Rachelle, occupied her customary seat in the front row of the spectator section. He is free on $1 million bail.

Weinberg planned to begin the defense case Monday afternoon. He said outside court that his presentation should take about three weeks, concluding in February. The first trial lasted five months.

Weinberg has asked to take the new jury to Spector’s Alhambra home, known as “The Castle.” Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler has not ruled yet on whether the visit will be allowed.

The defense claims that Clarkson, down on her luck and despondent about her future, pulled the trigger on the gun that killed her. The prosecution maintains that Spector shot her to death in the foyer of his home.