Waitress surprises Spector trial with gun testimony
EmptyA waitress who had told the jury in Phil Spector's murder trial that he was fatherly and protective recounted Monday an incident in which the record producer suddenly appeared with a rifle or shotgun to escort her and a friend out of his mansion and said it was for protection.
Kathy Sullivan testified she initially thought it was silly for him to escort them to a car with a gun, and that he looked like the cartoon character Elmer Fudd when he came downstairs with the weapon while wearing plaid.
She said she had told investigators that "it was the funniest picture in the whole wide world" but also testified that once she and her friend drove away she remarked, "I'm so glad we're out of there."
The surprise account by Sullivan, a server at one of Spector's favorite restaurants, was allowed by Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler after a hearing in which she previewed the testimony and the prosecutor argued that it was markedly different than the image of a paternalistic Spector that had been left with the jury.
"When's the last time you heard of a father walking his daughter to the bus station with a shotgun in his hand?" Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson said to the judge.
Defense attorney Roger Rosen argued that the incident was not relevant and was prejudicial.
Jackson countered that it was evidence that Spector had immediate access to weapons at his home.
Spector is accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in the foyer of his mansion. Clarkson died of a gunshot through the mouth in the early hours of Feb. 3, 2003. Spector's defense claims she shot herself. Four other women have testified Spector threatened them with guns in the preceding years.
Sullivan testified that in 1997 or 1998 she and another server named Susan who had become friends with Spector brought pizza and wine to his home and ended up spending the night there, each in a room of their own.
She said the next morning as they were about to depart, Spector left them in the foyer and eventually returned carrying a long gun. Sullivan said she asked Spector what the weapon was for.
"He said one word. He said, 'Protection,"' she testified.
Asked by Jackson if she was uncomfortable seeing the gun, she said she was because she doesn't like guns.
The prosecutor asked why.
"Bad things happen when guns are around," she said.
Sullivan testified that Spector kept the gun pointed down the entire time as he walked out with them to Susan's car and that she never felt threatened by Spector, who eventually walked away from them.
But she indicated she and her friend were stunned.
"We were both very shocked by it and just (said) 'What was that?"' she testified.
Sullivan earlier testified about going drinking with Spector the night before Clarkson's death and described how they encountered Clarkson working as a hostess guarding the entrance to the House of Blues' Foundation Room, which an ex-club official said was for "Hollywood A-listers" who paid an annual fee of $2,000.
Sullivan told of Spector ordering a series of drinks as they moved from restaurant to restaurant but said "it never crossed my mind that he might be inebriated."
Other restaurant personnel who testified identified receipts that showed Spector gave a $500 tip on a $55 bill at Dan Tana's and a $450 tip at House of Blues, part of $1,200 in tips at four spots that night.
Former House of Blues general manager Aric Berghammer acknowledged under defense questioning that Spector did not appear to be staggering or having trouble moving in security videos showing Spector arriving there and later leaving with Clarkson.
Under cross-examination Sullivan agreed with characterizations of Spector as being mannerly and paternalistic.
"You said it seemed to you and Susan that Mr. Spector got a kick out of you," Rosen said.
That prompted Sullivan to tell a story.
"Well Susan and I were pretty crazy and we were working on a lounge act," she said. "And we would go up to Phillip's house and she would bring her guitar and we would do some of our numbers for him which were clearly terrible.
"And he would sit there very nicely, just sort of nodding, and at the end of it he wouldn't tell us to shut up. He would simply say, 'Have you thought about this song?' and he would lead us to something else.
"It was just very kind and something like a dad would do when he saw his kid's ballet recital."
She then agreed with Rosen's statement that Spector's attitude toward them was concerned, caring and protective.
"I found him very protective," she said.
With the jury absent, the prosecution then successfully asked to allow Sullivan to testify about the gun incident.
Spector, 67, was a top music producer in the 1960s and '70s. Clarkson was best known for a 1980s role in Roger Corman's "Barbarian Queen."