Spector murder trial could be televised


The judge in the murder case against music producer Phil Spector said Wednesday he's leaning toward allowing the trial to be televised and will make a decision after hearing from lawyers later this month.

The 67-year-old producer -- famed for creating the "wall of sound" recording technique that revolutionized rock music -- is charged with killing actress Lana Clarkson in his suburban mansion on Feb. 3, 2003.

"This is a trial of public interest," said Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler. "I always have a problem with commentators telling people what is going on rather than letting the public see the trial for themselves. I'm a firm believer in having the public see it."

Attorneys said they wanted time to consider the proposal. The next pretrial hearing is set for Feb. 16.

Spector, who did not attend the hearing, has pleaded innocent and is free on $1 million bail.

He faces life in prison if convicted.

The judge has the option to allow television cameras in court during trial, and can consider the views of prosecution and defense lawyers before making a decision.

"We do not oppose cameras in the courtroom," said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney.

Fidler said he's received requests from numerous media outlets to bring cameras into the courtroom. He said the issue must be decided shortly because of technical arrangements that need to be made if cameras are permitted.

Lawyers for Spector and the district attorney said the prospect of a televised trial would require that questions be asked of prospective jurors about their attitudes on cameras in courtroom.

Fidler plans to call as many as 300 prospective jurors to his courtroom March 19 to begin the process of identifying those who could serve on a trial that might last three months. Testimony is unlikely to start until three or four week later.

Clarkson, 40, was best known as the star of Roger Corman's cult film "Barbarian Queen." She was working as a hostess at the House of Blues on Sunset Strip and went home with Spector the night she was killed, police said. Authorities were called when a limousine driver heard a gun go off.

Spector, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was the producer of such classic hits as "Be My Baby," "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling."