CA vs. Spector Day 1 – Opening Statements
Posted by thedarwinexception on April 25, 2007
I love Court TV. I watch it all day long. It’s better than any soap opera, and you learn stuff too!
This is an exciting week on Court TV because the Phil Specter trial is finally starting – after 4 years. Unfortunately, he tamed down that crazy ass hairstyle he was sporting. I guess the dense thought he looked a little too crazy for even an LA jury with that look. But I liked it. He looked like the love child of Albert Einstein and Bill The Cat.
So there are 9 men and 3 women on the jury, one a producer of NBC’s “Dateline” – that should be interesting – a TV producer deciding the fate of a record producer. Even more interesting will be seeing if a celebrity can actually be convicted in California.
Quick Review: Lana Clarkson, an actress, was found in the foyer of Spector’s home shot one time in the head on Feb. 3, 2003. Spector says she shot herself in the head, the state says “yeah, right.”
Apparently, Spector is somewhat known as a guy who threatens women with guns. There are no less than five of them on the prosecution’s witness list, ready to testify that they, too, were threatened with a gun by Spector. These witnesses were the ones ruled admissible out of the 11 or so the prosecution had submitted as potential witnesses. The judge felt that their testimony was relevant, since their encounters were “substantially similar” to the case at hand.
Spector’s driver, Adriano DeSouza, is also on the witness list – he’s going to testify that on the night of the shooting, he had been driving Spector’s Mercedes. He drove Spector to the “House of Blues” where Clarkson was working as a waitress. When Spector left the restaurant, he left with Clarkson and DeSouza drove them both back to Spector’s home. Later that evening DeSouza hear a “loud pop” and Spector came out of the house holding a gun. He said, according to DeSouza, “I think I killed somebody”.
And although Spector’s defense lately has been “She killed herself”, initially he told police that he had shot her “accidentally”. Alhambra Police Officer Beatrice Rodriguez testified at the Grand Jury proceedings that Spector told officers at his home, “What’s wrong with you guys? What are you doing? I didn’t mean to shoot her. It was an accident.”
The defense held an in camera hearing after the prosecution finished their opening statement – the defense had relied on the fact that the prosecution would at least *mention* Spector’s statements to the police, and they didn’t. The defense had based their entire opening statement, in fact a lot of the defense, on rebutting/bolstering these police statements, but the prosecution never mentioned them. And since the prosecution is the only one who can introduce admissions as evidence (they are considered hearsay if the defense does it), the defense is now screwed. Bruce Cutler, Spector’s lead attorney, told the judge his defense was “denuded” and that the defense was now “at a tactical disadvantage.” So, the judge told Cutler to come up with some kind of precedent or legal basis for introducing the statements, and despite the fact that there are 5 attorneys at the table, none of them could – even throughout the break the judge gave them to do so.
So, after the break, and still coming up empty handed, Cutler asked for a recess until the morning so he could “restrategize”. The judge told him “Sorry, no.” So Cutler stumbled through about 45 minutes of “The History of Phil Spector” before court finally recessed for the day.
I don’t know if this means that they are actually going back to the “it was an accident” defense and are going to abandon the whole “she done it herself” story. Which is probably a good move, anyway. Although legally they don’t have to prove any intent on the side of the victim that she was suicidal, in order to make this theory fly, the defense would have to have to show why in the world this woman would choose to shoot herself at the home of some guy that she had met only hours earlier. Although the defense has hinted that they have evidence to show she was broke, unable to work because of an injury and on painkillers, I still think it would be a hard sell in light of the driver’s statements and Spector’s penchant for waving a gun at women when they want to leave before he’s ready to let them go.
Tomorrow Cutler will complete his opening statement. Then we will start to see witnesses.