Spector asks Mistrial, DA Charges Checkbook Defense, Manipulation
Thursday, September 6th, 2007
DA Alan Jackson strikes blows to the Spector defense during compelling closing argument
By Stacey Silberman
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 9/6/07 – “I think I killed somebody,” said 67-year old music producer Phil Spector while holding the bloody gun in his hand, according to sworn testimony by his chauffeur.
After today’s defense closing arguments, the jury will decide if Spector was right in that statement.
Spector’s chauffeur Adriano DeSouza said that seconds before the producer staggered from the mansion, he’d heard a loud “pow.”
This was only the beginning of the District Attorney Alan Jackson’s dramatic and detailed closing argument Wednesday.
The defense objected to parts of Jackson’s presentation, asking Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler to declare a mistrial. At issue was Jackson’s assertion that if the gun went off, even by accident, after Spector pulled it and pointed it at her, it was second degree murder. Defense attorneys argued that if “an earthquake occurred and the gun went off it would not be second degree murder.” The judge refused to grant the mistrial, but asked Jackson to clear up the question in later statements.
Jackson painted a chilling picture of events, from Spector’s history with other women and guns, up until the alleged Feb. 3, 2003 murder of 40-year-old blonde actress Lana Clarkson. Jackson presented an extremely organized Powerpoint presentation to bolster his argument, which included slides, diagrams, posters, an answering machine tape from a female witness and clips of recorded testimony.
It mainly focused on the five-female witnesses who survived Spector’s previous gun threats. The DA established him as a man who exhibits a consistent pattern of violence against women. According to Jean Rosenbluth, a law professor at USC and a former federal prosecutor, the fact so many women have attested to Spector’s violent behavior could be decisive.
The trial, which began opening testimony in late April, has been long and arduous. Approximately 75 witnesses have testified for both sides, including the many paid expert witnesses hired by the defense team. The defense case is depending mostly on scientific evidence, conveniently disputed by retired forensic experts, like the prominent Dr. Vincent DiMaio. “When the defense didn’t like the way science was going, they changed the science,” exclaimed Jackson. It is estimated that Spector spent upwards of $200,000 for “his witnesses.”
In addition to Spector’s confession following Clarkson’s death, another potential flaw in the defense argument, centers on the blood-spatter theory. The particular spatter in question was referred to as “back spatter,” This is the blood which shot back from the wound, due to the high-intensity gunshot into the mouth. The defense claims that Spector was standing six-feet away when the shot was fired, even though some of the back spatter landed on his hands and jacket.
Blood was also found inside his pockets.
The prosecution asserts that Spector was no more than “arms length” away from Clarkson, since most forensic experts agree that the spatter would land no more than two feet from the point of entry. Another obvious point, is the fact that Clarkson was wearing her shoes, her jacket and notably, her purse over her shoulder. This indicates that she was trying to leave the house, not commit suicide, said the DA.
This story follows the same pattern that the other women corroborated. They said Spector, often in a drunken and violent state-of-mind, threatened them with a gunshot to the head if they left his house before he was ready for their departure.
“As a prosecutor it’s very rare to have even one or two people who can testify to previous bad acts. To have four or five people, as in this case, is exceptional,” said Rosenbluth.
Jackson also went after the defense witnesses, in particular nightclub promoter Punkin Pie, who testified Clarkson was suicidal. He called her actions “chasing the limelight” for her own ends. Pie also testified the actress carried her purse everywhere, the latter to explain why Clarkson had her purse on her shoulder when shot, if she wasn’t trying to leave Spector’s house.
Jackson noted none of the dozens of photos of Clarkson pictured her with a bag, implying Spector’s attorneys put her up to it. “Give it to Pie, she’ll testify to anything,” he mocked, as to what defense lawyers may have been thinking.
More damaging was his insistence that Pie lied in her testimony, noting she even admitted she lied to officers by stating Clarkson was not suicidal when police questioned her shortly after the shooting. Jackson said that years later, as the case came to trial, she spoke with authorities again. “The next time she talked to authorities, her story flipped,” said Jackson. “She made a 180 degree turn” timed to news articles that appeared.
Slide after slide went by jurors and on national TV, itemizing what Jackson said were holes in her testimony such as her statements in Star Magazine when everyone was under a gag order and being what he called “exiled” by Clarkson’s family.
Almost as damaging was the rebuttal to Pie’s testimony earlier in the trial by star director Michael Bay “Transformer” who spent hours on the stand noting that Clarkson could not have been depressed at not having talked to him at a party.
Bay said Clarkson was in no way a depressed person and they were good enough friends that she would have come up and kissed him at the party he supposedly ignored her at, even if he was surrounded by other guests. And that he would have noticed her as she was a “tall and beautiful” blonde.
Though Spector had reportedly pulled guns on stars including John Lennon, Dee Dee Ramone, Deborah Harry, Leonard Cohen and others, Bay was the only celebrity called to the stand – and specifically to rebut Pie. She was central to defense arguments that Clarkson’s death was a suicide, not a murder, accidental or otherwise.
The defense went to great lengths to portray Clarkson as a depressed has-been, who had nothing to live for. However, the prosecution presented evidence to the contrary. The defense will have its chance to present their closing statement tomorrow. The only thing that the defense needs is to create a reasonable doubt by tearing apart the DA’s gruesome and persuasive evidence If found guilty of second-degree murder, Spector faces a sentence of 15-years to life.