CA vs. Spector Day 2 – Accidental Suicide
Posted by thedarwinexception on April 26, 2007
Today court began just where it left off – with the lead defense attorney Bruce Cutler picking up in his opening statement. Yesterday he started out by singing the praises of Phil Spector, and talking about the man’s celebrity and expounding on the fact that “the only reason we are here is because this man is a genius.” Making one wonder if he was such a fucking genius, how did he end up charged with murder….but what Cutler was *really* trying to impart, just not very eloquently, was that he was asserting the defense of “don’t hate me because I’m famous”, probably a message he didn’t really need to give in the first place, since as history has shown, LA juries are fairly generous to celebrity defendants.Today, he brought home his central point – that this was not a case of murder, that it was a case of “Accidental Suicide”, officially abandoning the theory that it was a clear cut suicide, probably because they woke up and realized they wouldn’t be able to prove that she was despondent enough to kill herself, now they have embraced the “Accidental Suicide” theory. Now, one wonders how the hell somebody accidentally kills themselves with an intra oral gunshot wound, but in anticipation of that Cutler offered that Clarkson was engaging in “oral foreplay with the gun – in order to seduce Phil Spector.” Sending horny desperate housewives everywhere running for their husband’s gun safes, I’m sure. (Dover adds: #47 in the list of clues that your date is not going well: he wants you to blow his gun.) Cutler also implied that there were two pistols that night – one was the loaded 38 special that killed Clarkson, and one was a starter pistol that strongly resembled it. He seemed to be implying that Clarkson may have been orally copulating the wrong gun. But the prosecution had told us yesterday that the top drawer of the dresser next to where Lana was found was open when the police got there – and that inside the top drawer of that dresser was a holster of the same brand as the gun, and the gun fit in that holster perfectly. Oh – and here’s a sidebar about “names” and “labels”. Yesterday Phil Spector was not Phil – he was Phillip – probably for the prosecution to distance themselves from the “celebrity” of “Phil Spector”. So he was “Philip” for the whole day. The defense had introduced a motion to the judge that Clarkson not be referred to as the “victim” – because, of course, that would imply that she *was* a victim, and since that has not been determined, they did not want her seen as such by the jury. So yesterday she was “Lana Clarkson” or “Miss Clarkson” or just “Lana” – and today, she is “The Decedent” – which made me think of some hack horror movie every time I heard it. Cutler is not a very likeable guy, or maybe it’s just that he screams a lot, and bangs his fist, in the age old tradition of “If you have the facts, argue the facts, if you don’t have the facts, argue the law, if you don’t have either, bang on the table.” Cutler banged on the table a lot. He also evoked memories of another courtroom – which happens to be the one right next door to this one – when he started in with the catchy mantras. One of his favorites was “They had Murder on their Mind!” Which he used every time he spoke of the detectives and police who had responded to and investigated the crime scene and the case involving Spector. He also namedropped a lot, even going so far as yelling at the jury “This man is friends with Tina Turner, for God’s sake!” He then went on to explain that it was Tina who introduced Phil Spector at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Which drew yet *another* sustained objection from the prosecution. There were about 20 of those in all during the defense’s opening statement. Mostly for little slips like the Tina Turner one, where Cutler would veer off on another tangent and start arguing opinions and drawing conclusions rather than sticking to “the evidence will show…” statements. Each objection reined him in for a little while, and made him start beginning every sentence with “and the evidence will show, ladies and gentlemen”, which got really funny after a while, because he would end up with sentences like “And the evidence will show, ladies and gentlemen, that John Lennon of the Beatles would *only* use Phil Spector as his producer, *that’s* what kind of genius this man has.” So, I’m looking forward to John Lennon coming in to testify for Phil Spector. I’m hoping they use a hologram of him the way they did with Elvis on American Idol last night. And unlike in other “high profile cases” where the defense comes in with all these neat gadgets and laptops and fancy computer recreations and then the prosecution limps their case along with white boards and hand drawn charts, the opposite is true in this case. The prosecution yesterday wowed the jury with their CSI like PowerPoint presentations, fancy full screen displays with photos, sound, recreations from pictures, illustrative diagrams and CGI animations of the forensic evidence. Today the defense had nothing – not even a picture all during Cutler’s rambling opening statement. Which was kind of strange, actually, after his huge buildup of Spector and what an influential and innovative producer he was, it was kind of a letdown that they couldn’t even produce a whiteboard between them. Somebody should have called Spector’s good friend Tina Turner and asked if she had like a spare laptop or something.
Cutler also offered some of Clarkson’s emails to her friends in the weeks before her death, in which she was telling hr friends she had trashed her house in her “fit of depression”, that she was so “broke she was ready to pack it in”, and that she was extremely distraught over her lack of work. Cutler also offered that all those other women who were terrorized by Spector bore no resemblance to this incident at all – number one, those women were in actual relationships with Spector, and sure, they got in fights, but Spector didn’t even know Clarkson. Oh, and by the way, he also said, these women are liars anyway, and have personal motivations for coming forward.
After another 45 minutes listening to Cutler – and the prosecution’s objections every 5 minutes or so – the *other* high profile attorney for Spector got up to introduce the jury to *her* part of the case, the forensic and scientific evidence. This attorney is Linda Kenny Baden – wife of the famous Forensic Pathologist Michael Baden. And she proves quite nicely the point that once two people are married for a while they start to look alike. Put a blonde wig on him and you have a fairly good picture of her. She opens by telling jurors she has a witness who will prove her client’s innocence. This witness, she says, has no memory problems, no personal agenda and no language barrier. Who is this Spector savior? “Science,” she tells jurors.
She was much more effective than her co-counsel, and explained to the jury that there was absolutely no gun residue found on Phil Spector, that, in fact, the only residue found was that on the hands of the decedent.She also brought up the point of the “broken teeth”, arguing that if someone were to shove a gun in your mouth, and you were to resist that, you would clench your teeth, and that the gun would then be in front of the teeth, and that once the gun went off, the teeth would be forced backwards into the mouth and throat. Forensic evidence shows that this was not the case with Clarkson, that the gun was placed in the mouth with the mouth open, and that when the gun went off, the teeth were forced outwards and out of the mouth and throat area.Of course, this “proves” to the defense that she obviously was a willing participant in the “gun in the mouth” scenario. I think another inference could be that someone said to her “open your mouth, bitch”, but they didn’t offer this possibility.
Baden also brought up the forthcoming evidence concerning the blood spatter, and discounted the prosecution’s theory that since Spector had blood on the front of his jacket, and since spatter follows a given, measurable pattern and only flies three feet from the point of impact, that Spector had to be standing within that distance from Clarkson when the gun was fired. Baden said that Jackson’s measurements were wrong, and that shooting through someone’s arm or chest is *not* the same “measurable spatter pattern” as a gunshot inside the head, and that pressure and forces allow the spatter to travel as far as 6 feet away, negating the prosecution’s argument that “if he got blood on his jacket, he had to have been holding the gun.” Baden had the same argument when it came to brain tissue A residue of such matter was detected on the buttons of Clarkson’s jacket sleeve, but not on Spector’s clothes, she said. “It proves scientifically that he, Phillip, was not near her when she was shot.” She also said that the location of the tissue on Clarkson’s sleeve suggests she was holding her hands up to her mouth as she would if pulling the trigger.
Henry Lee, who is scheduled to appear as a witness in this case – commented on this evidence on “Catherine Crier Live” She also said that forensic tests done on the ammunition itself showed Clarkson’s DNA alone on the bullets. Spector’s DNA was not found. Although, oddly enough, she did concede that there was someone else’s DNA found – an “unknown person”. She never went so far as to say that Clarkson actually loaded the gun, but she did emphasize that Spector didn’t.After the defense completed their opening statements, actual testimony began, but unfortunately, with the time difference, that will have to be re-played to us East Coasters tomorrow morning, before they resume live testimony at noon. Although I had heard that this was going to be a 4 days a week trial, with Fridays off, so I’m not certain if court will be in session on Friday.