Get ready for the next celebrity trial, starting today. In a much-delayed case, music producer Phil Spector is to be tried in Los Angeles for the murder of acrtress Lana Clarkson, 40, in 2003. The Los Angeles Times says that both a hired driver for Spector and the first police officer on the scene have said the dazed producer told them he thought he had killed someone. Spector says Clarkson committed suicide, telling Esquire magazine: “She kissed the gun.” Jury selection is expected to go into next month.
The prosecution argues that Spector, a man with a history of rage against women, met an attractive bar hostess during a night of drinking, persuaded her to come home with him, and then shot her when his advances did not go as planned. The defense ie expected to contend that Clarkson, whose acting career had gone cold, chose Spector’s 33-room faux castle to take her own life in the presence of a music-industry legend. Prosecutors have not done well in recent years against celebrity defendants, including Robert Blake and Michael Jackson. Jean Rosenbluth, a University of Southern California law professor, noted that the defense has not yet shown its hand. Cutler, a New Yorker and mobster John Gotti’s lawyer, may sway the jury with his theatrical flair, she said. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler is allowing cameras in the courtroom, ensuring that the case, “with its tawdry trappings, pop psychology and celebrity tinder, will generate a bonfire of media attention.”