Spector defense argues Clarkson killed self
EmptyAn attorney for Phil Spector on Thursday outlined scientific evidence she said clears the record producer of murder, and accused prosecutors of resorting to theatrics in their efforts to mark "the first celebrity notch in the government's gun belt."
Linda Kenney-Baden, the member of Spector's defense team who is a specialist in forensic evidence, in her closing argument accused prosecutors of using "cute jokes" as distractions. Kenney-Baden said they offered only "accusations and demonizations rather than showing you what evidence they have that proves their case beyond a reasonable doubt."
"Stories don't trump science and they can't prove Phil Spector killed Lana Clarkson," Kenney-Baden said.
Spector, 67, is accused of second-degree murder. Clarkson, a 40-year-old actress working as a nightclub hostess, died of a gunshot fired inside her mouth early Feb. 3, 2003, in the foyer of Spector's mansion.
Kenney-Baden's argument came down to assertions that Spector was too far away to have fired the gun and that Clarkson killed herself. She said prosecutor Alan Jackson tried to explain away the facts with a series of improbable speculations in his closing argument Wednesday.
"Some of them, you heard yesterday, include: The gun fell into her mouth. She was talking and he put the gun in her mouth. She screamed and he put the gun in her mouth. It even got to the point (where) a big gust of wind or an earthquake could have made the gun go off. It must have been San Andreas' fault," she said sarcastically.
Showing them a photo of the knee-length white coat Spector wore the night of the shooting, Kenney-Baden asserted that the condition of the garment was proof he didn't kill Clarkson but "unfortunately for him the name Phil Spector becoming the first celebrity notch in the government's gun belt was more important than this crucial finding of innocence."
She said the jacket was "pristine" to the naked eye and only a few miniscule blood spatters were found when it was examined under a microscope. Had he shot Clarkson, she said, he would have been covered in blood and tissue.
Kenney-Baden imitated Jackson pounding his hand on the lectern to make a point in his closing argument and said she would not use such theatrics.
"Science is the best, the most accurate and the only impartial witness," she said, adding, "The court is not an entertainment for the masses."
Jackson presented a long summation Wednesday that was heavy on drama with video clips of women who accused Spector of past threatening acts with guns. It concluded with a video accompanied by music showing the glamorous Clarkson dancing, smiling and singing. It was meant to show that the actress, the star of the 1985 cult film "Barbarian Queen," was not despondent, had plans for her future and would not have shot herself as the defense claims.
But Thursday's session began with the judge telling jurors there were misstatements in Jackson's closing argument.
"Argument is very emotional" and sometimes statements are made that should not be, the judge said.
Fidler told jurors Jackson crossed the line by characterizing the defense case as having murdered or assassinated Clarkson's character. Fidler said he approved all evidence admitted about Clarkson's background because it was relevant.
The judge also said the jury could not consider a suggestion that the defense and a witness "got together concerning testimony."
"There's no showing whatsoever that defense counsel asked a witness to testify untruthfully in any way," he said.
Outside the jury's presence, he denied a defense motion for a mistrial due to the suggestion by Jackson that Clarkson had been "murdered twice."
Kenney-Baden responded to Jackson's claim of a "checkbook defense" which used Spector's money to hire high-profile forensic experts.
"For all their talk about a checkbook defense, it is the government who has a combined budget of billions of dollars," she said. "They had every forensic tool available to them as to who fired the gun that night -- every forensic tool, every scientist, a crime lab, thousands of investigators."
Spector chose Kenney-Baden to give the closing argument despite her absence for several weeks of testimony due to illness.
She accused investigators and prosecution experts of ignoring important scientific evidence because "conviction of this celebrity was more important than the morality of honesty."
She showed statistics presented by defense experts that 99% of intra-oral gunshot wounds are self- inflicted. She denied that there was evidence of a struggle, asserting that the statuesque Clarkson had a size, weight and age advantage over the diminutive Spector.
One witness described Clarkson as "saucy," the attorney said. "In other words, she wasn't like a wimp that's gonna sit there and let somebody put a gun in her mouth."
All bruising inside her mouth came from the explosive discharge of the gun, she said.
"People don't open their mouths and allow a gun barrel inside it unless they are doing something voluntarily," she said. "... Science proves that Lana Clarkson did close her lips around it and that there was no struggle. That means she put the gun inside her mouth herself."