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Spector lawyers want to bar key testimony

July 16, 2008|Harriet Ryan | Times Staff Writer

Phil Spector's attorneys want to keep what they call "the most damaging evidence" against the music producer out of his retrial in the slaying of an actress.

In papers filed Tuesday, his attorneys asked a judge to bar the testimony of five women who alleged that Spector had threatened them with guns. The women were among the most emotional and dramatic witnesses at Spector's trial, which ended in a hung jury last year.

His attorneys wrote that the incidents, which stretched back three decades, were inadmissible at the retrial set for September because their circumstances differed substantially from the prosecutors' theory of the 2003 shooting of Lana Clarkson.

"None involved an act similar to the one that the state was attempting to prove here, i.e. that Spector fired a gun," wrote lawyers Dennis Riordan and Doron Weinberg.

Spector, 67, faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. He maintains that Clarkson, 40, killed herself in the foyer of his Alhambra mansion.

Prosecutors contend that the incidents prove Spector had a habit of pulling weapons when he was drunk and women rejected his advances.

His attorneys said that was not the scenario with Clarkson and added in their court papers that "the evidence is that Clarkson and Spector had consensual sex that night." They cited tests showing Spector's DNA on Clarkson's left breast and genetic material on his genitals consistent with the actress' DNA. Prosecutors have suggested the DNA might have been transferred through nonsexual contact.

The defense papers did not mention a sixth woman, Norma Kemper, whom prosecutors said Monday they intended to add to the witness list.

Defense lawyers also asked Tuesday to limit the testimony of the medical examiner who autopsied Clarkson. Forensic pathologist Louis Pena ruled her death a homicide but acknowledged during last year's trial that he based the conclusion partly on nonmedical evidence.


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