Jury selection begins in Spector trial


Phil Spector on Monday faced a panel of prospective jurors who were warned by the judge that the murder trial of the music legend is not an opportunity for them to have their "15 minutes of fame."

"This case is not about you," Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler told some 100 prospective jurors.

Spector, the music producer who gained fame in the 1960s for his "Wall of Sound" recording technique, is accused of fatally shooting actress Lana Clarkson at his home four years ago.

Lawyers were to directly question prospective jurors Monday afternoon with a focus on written answers the panelists provided on questionnaires during an initial phase of screening a month ago.

In his introductory remarks, Fidler informed the panel that the case will be televised but said cameras were installed in a position where they will not photograph jurors. He also said that all jurors will remain anonymous and were being encouraged to reveal their innermost thoughts during jury questioning.

"This criminal justice system works extremely well if we end up with 12 impartial jurors willing to be fair to both sides," the judge said. "There are some people looking for their 15 minutes of fame. We're not looking for that kind of juror."

Fidler said some prospects expressed strong opinions in the questionnaires and would be asked about those in open court.

He said he would be reluctant to let anyone come to his bench for private conferences about their views or issues they consider sensitive.

"We are not going to have private (jury selection) just because someone has strong feelings," Fidler said.

"Strong feelings are something other jurors should hear about," he added.

Spector was sedately attired in a dark blue suit with his trademark long frock coat, a lighter blue satin shirt open at the throat and a matching handkerchief. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Clarkson, 40, was shot in the foyer of Spector's home on Feb. 3, 2003. Her body was found slumped in a chair, her teeth blown out by a gunshot to her mouth.

Best known as the star of Roger Corman's cult film "Barbarian Queen," she was working as a hostess at the House of Blues when she went home with Spector the night she died.