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Judge allows just one reporter to join jurors at Spector house tour

August 09, 2007|Joe Mozingo | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler on Wednesday granted a defense request to allow only one reporter to accompany jurors in the Phil Spector murder trial to the reclusive music producer's Alhambra mansion.

Jurors are scheduled to tour the home, the scene of actress Lana Clarkson's shooting death four years ago, this morning. Fidler had tentatively decided to open the visit to Associated Press reporter Linda Deutsch and Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Hong.

But in a closed-door meeting Wednesday, defense attorney Roger Rosen objected to admitting Hong, another Times staff writer and a Court TV producer, saying he thought their coverage of the murder case had "not been favorable," according to court spokesman Allan Parachini.

Fidler ruled that one reporter could attend. Deutsch earlier had been chosen by the trial press corps as the pool reporter.

Some journalists complained that Spector's defense team had been unfairly permitted to dictate who covers a public trial.

"The idea that the defense and the defendant are deciding which of the media can go to the house is absolutely outrageous to me," said author and Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne, who is covering the case.

Parachini said the judge balanced the media's and public's right to access against Spector's rights to privacy.

"Did Spector control this? No," Parachini said.

"I have absolutely no decision-making authority in this regard," Rosen said.

The defense earlier had objected to letting any media representative onto the property, arguing that Spector had a right to shield his private home from public view.

An attorney for four news organizations, including The Times and the AP, filed a brief contending that just as jurors would be exposed to evidence, the house "should be treated like an extension of the courtroom."

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