The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Spector Refresher – I Dispute That!

Posted by thedarwinexception on August 1, 2008

Before we begin our refresher course on the testimony in the first round of California vs. Spector, we should take a look at the bare facts – sort of a “what we know that is not in dispute” and go from there. This is a “what the prosecution and defense agree on” overview.

So, of course, this shall be short. There’s a few things that everyone can agree on, up to the moment the gun was fired – after that, everything is up for grabs, especially from the people in closest proximity to the gun.

But, what we do know, and what is not in dispute is the following:

Lana Jean Clarkson was a 40 year old actress who had recently taken work as a hostess at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, California. Mostly known for her work with Roger Corman, in 1985 she played the title character in his film “Barbarian Queen”, often referred to as “the original Xena” and gained a cult following of devoted fans. She had also recently produced her own promotional reel entitled “Lana Unleashed’, which she hoped would showcase her comedic talents. She had started her stint at the House of Blues in early January 2003.

It was here, shortly before her shift for the night ended in the early morning hours of February 3, 2003 that she met Phil Spector. Lana did not recognize Spector as the renowned music producer he was, and on first being introduced to him,  thought that he was a woman. After her shift ended, Spector had invited her back to this home in Alhambra “The Castle”, as he referred to it. It was here that she met her death, when Spector’s 38 special Colt Cobra revolver was discharged inside of her mouth.

Spector had arrived at the House of Blues chauffeured by his part time driver, Adrian De Souza. De Souza had earlier driven Spector and his old friend Rommie Davis from her home to dinner, then had driven her back home.

De Souza then brought Spector to the restaurant “The Grill on the Alley”, where Spector met up with another female friend, Kathy Sullivan, who was a server at the “Grill on the Alley”. After her shift was complete,  Sullivan accompanied Spector to Trader Vic’s, Dan Tanna’s, then to the House of Blues. Sullivan was driven home by Spector’s driver, and Spector invited Lana Clarkson back to his home when she was through with work. Clarkson agreed.

Spector left a $450.00 tip. Maybe because Euphrathes Lalondriz, the head of security at the House of Blues, instructed Clarkson to treat Spector as “golden” and “like Dan Ackroyd,” referring to one of the founders of the club.

But those are the facts as we know them and that are not in dispute. Everything else is up for grabs – even the physical evidence and the body as it was found. It was either moved or it wasn’t, the gun was in the mouth or in front of the mouth, the bruising on the body was because of a struggle or because of blood thinning medications, Lana was happy, Lana was depressed, Phil had a history or violence, or a history of being with women willing to lie on the stand to get back at him.

We are not even sure if Spector’s driver, Adrian DeSouza, can speak English well enough to understand a sentence shouted out in the heat of the moment.

All the rest of the evidence is open to argument, interpretation and spin. And a well paid “expert”, of course.

So, all we can really start with is that Lana Clarkson died in Phil Spector’s home in the early morning hours of February 3, 2003, and that Phil had enough money to hire experts to muddy the evidence up a bit.

Tomorrow: Other spurned women testify to their own encounters with Spector.

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18 Responses to “Spector Refresher – I Dispute That!”

  1. luvgabe said

    Great summary, Kim!

    About “We are not even sure if Spector’s driver, Adrian DeSouza, can speak English well enough to understand a sentence shouted out in the heat of the moment.”

    a. Couldn’t this be ascertained when DeSouza took the stand during Trial 1?

    b. I seem to recall that one of the jurors was quite adamant that DeSouza’s English is just fine.

  2. tess said

    Luv you are right, but what I think Kim is saying is that without any arguments for or against, the above facts are what everyone stipulates too. I agree that, In my opinion, Adriano was perfectly lucid and understood exactly what was being said.
    This will be interesting to see what fine tuning the defense has made to their arguments, or even if they will be the same arguments.
    tess

  3. Greg Smith said

    I think his first name was Adriano.

  4. AtwoodLady said

    Thanks, Kim, the PS refresher course.

    I started watching the trial later and missed the early witnesses.

    I didn’t know who PS was and I was a kid of the ’60’s but knew of the groups he produced. I guess the news never covered his antics back then. Too bad those prior acts women did report him but then that was the sign of the times. Today his butt would have been in jail in a New york minute.

  5. AtwoodLady said

    meant to say “did not”

  6. Greg Smith said

    AtwoodLady: I didn’t know who PS was until I heard his name in a Simon and Garfunkel song and looked it up.

    I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored.
    I been John O’Hara’d, McNamara’d.
    I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I’m blind.
    I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
    Communist, ’cause I’m left-handed.
    That’s the hand I use, well, never mind!

    I been Phil Spectored, resurrected.
    I been Lou Adlered, Barry Sadlered.
    Well, I paid all the dues I want to pay.
    And I learned the truth from Lenny Bruce,
    And all my wealth won’t buy me health,
    So I smoke a pint of tea a day.

    I knew a man, his brain was so small,
    He couldn’t think of nothing at all.
    He’s not the same as you and me.
    He doesn’t dig poetry. He’s so unhip that
    When you say Dylan, he thinks you’re talking about Dylan Thomas,
    Whoever he was.
    The man ain’t got no culture,
    But it’s alright, ma,
    Everybody must get stoned.

    I been Mick Jaggered, silver daggered.
    Andy Warhol, won’t you please come home?
    I been mothered, fathered, aunt and uncled,
    Been Roy Haleed and Art Garfunkeled.
    I just discovered somebody’s tapped my phone

  7. About “We are not even sure if Spector’s driver, Adrian DeSouza, can speak English well enough to understand a sentence shouted out in the heat of the moment.”

    a. Couldn’t this be ascertained when DeSouza took the stand during Trial 1?

    b. I seem to recall that one of the jurors was quite adamant that DeSouza’s English is just fine.

    Well, again, this is all in dispute, depending on whether you believe the prosecution, who say “Look at the initial interview De Souza gave to the police – it was recorded and he seems to hold his own with the interrogators”, or whether you believe the defense, who brought up the point that when we saw De Soouza on the stand, it was 3 years after the night of the shooting, therefore De Souza had three extra years to learn English.

    Bradley Brunon, during the cross of De Souza grilled him about his education, and about his ability to understand Spector. De SOuza testified that he did have a hard time understanding Spector – but usually only when Spector was drunk and slurred his words. Remember the really hilarious imitation of Spector that De Souza did? “Adriano, Adriano…?” The was during the whole “Do you understand English” cross by Brunon.

    This issue was also the impetus for Judge Fidler, probably tired of the endless questions aobut De Souza’s ability or non ability to udnerstand simple words and phrases, to lean over to De Souza and ask him “Do you dream, sir?” When De Souza said yes, that he dreamt, Fidler asked him “in what language do you dream”
    ”Portuguese and English,” DeSouza answered.

    So, although anyone who saw the interrogation video which was done the actual night of the shooting would presumably think that De Souza would be able to understand the simple phrase “I think I killed somebody”, the defense would surely like everyone to believe that De Souza had no command whatsoever of the English language and certainly wasn’t able to testify as to what was said or not said that night by Spector.

    Kim

  8. This will be interesting to see what fine tuning the defense has made to their arguments, or even if they will be the same arguments.

    An that’s what WE are here for. We need to figure out where the chinks in the Alhambra suit of armor are. What are the things that a new defense team is going to hammer home to a new jury? What is the best evidence – what does the prosecution need to make the jury understand that they didn’t make them understand the first time around? Why did the first jury hang? How is the defense going to exploit that and what arguments did they present that caused the jury to hang?

    Kim

  9. I think his first name was Adriano.

    Of course it was – I was watching Monk at the time.

    Kim

  10. Sprocket said

    Not to question your excellent reporting or understanding of the case Kim, but I believe the defense and the prosecution agreed (via witnesses) that the gun was inside Lana’s mouth.

    I’m trying to remember if the defense also argued that it was the “gasses” that blew out her teeth. (That is their argument for the back spatter.) Do you remember?

    The prosecution witnesses believed it was the site (sp?) on the barrel that knocked out her teeth via the recoil. I believe it was Dr. Herold who testified that dental/teeth material was found on the backside stepped ridges of the gun site.

    On August 14th, the defense will present arguments to get all six PBA 1101(b) witnesses excluded from testifying, as well as expert witness Dr. Pena. As of today, the prosecution has not filed their opposition motions regarding these two issues.

    (As you know, but maybe some readers don’t, these pretrial motions are motions in limine, which basically seek to block or limit the other side from presenting certain evidence at trial. This is very common.)

    From the rulings Fidler made as to Dr. Herold and Steve Renteria, it’s a good bet that he will also deny the defense motion to exclude Dr. Pena from testifying.

    From what I observed at this last hearing, the new member of the prosecution team, Truc T. Do, held her own against Riordan and Weinberg. She brings a different personality and dynamic to the prosecutions case.

    The accredited press that I spoke to feel that this trial will be much shorter than Spector 1. Possibly as short as three months. Depending on how long voir dire takes (it took seven days for trial #1), the start of the trial will be in late October, or at the latest, early November.

    Depending on how long the new defense team spends on cross examination of the prosecution’s witnesses, I think the trial will take a bit longer than that.

  11. Sprocket said

    An that’s what WE are here for. We need to figure out where the chinks in the Alhambra suit of armor are. What are the things that a new defense team is going to hammer home to a new jury? What is the best evidence – what does the prosecution need to make the jury understand that they didn’t make them understand the first time around? Why did the first jury hang? How is the defense going to exploit that and what arguments did they present that caused the jury to hang?

    Kim

    I hope the prosecution does not use the same jury consultants. They were the ones who gave the okay to juror #10, but it was DA Steve Cooley who overrode AJ & Dixon’s desire to toss him, and stick with the jury consultant’s recommendations.

    It’s my opinion that this case will be won or lost on jury selection and jury instructions. This time around, the prosecution could have a psychological autopsy done on Lana, which was point the defense used agains them. In my opinion, because this defense team is a much better one that from Spector 1, it is quite possible that this trial will also hang.

  12. Not to question your excellent reporting or understanding of the case Kim, but I believe the defense and the prosecution agreed (via witnesses) that the gun was inside Lana’s mouth.

    Well, the defense (as in many things) were never really firmly entrenached in any one theory. In opening arguments LKB said that Lana’s teeth were forced inward, not outward, but then Cutler wanted to imply that Lana was orally copulating the gun as some kind of sexual foreplay, and by the time of closing arguments, they were saying she was so depressed she just blew her own freaking head off.

    But, as it was with the defense, “shit changes from day to day – and so does our theory of the case”.

    In limine motions are practically expected – most defense teams will file them routinely and just hope something sticks. Their best motion so far has been the “lesser includeds”, actually. I thought that one could go either way.

    And I hope the new trial isn’t MUCH more than three months. That’s just about when I lose interest.

    Kim

  13. kizzzy said

    I also remember it being said that speaking the language is different than understanding it.
    Adriano understood very well IMO

    Dang I cleared cookies and used the wrong kizzzy name lol

  14. It’s my opinion that this case will be won or lost on jury selection and jury instructions.

    Well, that’s where 99% of cases are won or lost. There are tons of studies done that say that by the end of opening arguments most juries have their minds made up – the actual witnesses are just reinforcements for their initial assumptions.

    And jury instructions, while mostly boring and tedious to most trial watchers, are immensely important to jurors. Most juries really do want to “do the right thing”, and how the instructions are worded, what is included and how the charges and counts are defined is how juries come to verdicts. They will without fail go through those instructions line by line and try to fit their conclusions to the verdicts available.

    That’s why I devoted so much time and energy to the jury instructions in round one and tried to explain that even though *WE* knew Spector was guilty, if we went through the instructions and evidence the way the jury might be doing, they could reasonably come back with a different conclusion.

    That made me QUITE unpopular at the time. Go back and read the comments – It was actually said I had “gone to the dark side” HA!!!

    Kim

  15. Sprocket said

    I knew you had not “gone to the dark side” Kim, lol!

    It was Riordan who succeeded in getting special instruction #3 past Fidler. That was a blunder by Fidler, imo. IMO, Fidler should have caught that. (That’s also the opinion of a few accredited journalists who attended the trial, btw, I just do not have permission to quote them.) IMO, Riordan knew this instruction violated CA law, (seeing as how he was on the advisory committee that rewrote CALCRIM) but he got it in and read to the jury anyway.

  16. It was Riordan who succeeded in getting special instruction #3 past Fidler. That was a blunder by Fidler, imo.

    Well, the blunder was in not only allowing it to begin with, but withdrawing it and then re-wording it. I think that ascribed more importance to it in the juror’s minds than it should have had. It’s the old saying “You can’t unring the bell”. You can’t just ask people to “act like you never heard that”. They may act like they never heard it – but jurors are human, and there are implications in acting like you never heard something. You begin to wonder why you have to act like you never heard it, and start creating scenarios in your mind that may or may not be true. Jurors are human and it’s human nature to speculate.

    And really special instruction 3 and the arguments that ensued over it are the basis for the “lesser included” arguments the defense now has. Judge Fidler *did* express some value judgments on the credibility and worthiness of the states case with regards to manslaughter and murder 2 while commenting on special instruction 3.

    Those statements may end up biting a lot of people in the ass.

    And it all comes down to semantics and choosing words for jury instructions. This is a lesson in how important those words are. It’s all about “direct” versus “proximate” and what those words can imply.

    Kim

  17. HT said

    Aw Kim, you work way too hard.

    Here’s my recap:

    Lana was alive.
    Lana is dead.
    Phil is alive.
    I wish he were dead.
    Including his wife.
    The jury foreman was an egotist.
    He thought the trial was about him.
    The defense was offensive.
    The prosecution deserved better.
    You were the best.
    I’m probably the worst.
    But I don’t give a shit.

    HT

  18. Gail said

    Backtracking, Kim the booties and sweater are adorable! I too am anxious to see the ribbons! Woo Hoo there have to be quite a few and likely ‘Blue’!

    Hope your little fingers aren’t under too much pain and duress from the blue sweater, and remember I am very patient!

    Be sure to follow up with the doc/cardiology dept. From our experience our hospital’s CD was fantastic. Hopefully you will get some answers and help there. 🙂

    Ewwwwwwwwwwww PS! Not sure I am up to looking at that mug again and especially for 3 months. 😦 Thanks for the refresher!

    I pray there will be JUSTICE For LANA this time around!

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