A former attorney for Phil Spector agreed today (July 12) to testify in his murder trial about evidence allegedly withheld by a defense expert rather than go to jail for contempt of court.

A former attorney for Phil Spector agreed today (July 12) to testify in his murder trial about evidence allegedly withheld by a defense expert rather than go to jail for contempt of court.

The turnabout by attorney Sara Caplan came a day after the California Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal of a contempt order issued by Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler. The judge ordered her to return to court this afternoon to testify.

Caplan was part of an original defense team that examined the foyer of Spector's mansion where actress Lana Clarkson died from a gunshot through the mouth on Feb. 3, 2003. The defense claims Clarkson shot herself.

Caplan's story about the possible evidence emerged unexpectedly in hearings outside the jury's presence. She said she saw renowned forensic expert Henry Lee pick up a small white object the size of a fingernail at the scene and put it in a vial. Autopsy pictures of Clarkson show a small piece of acrylic fingernail missing from her right thumb.

Lee denied picking up such an item, but the judge found that Caplan was more credible and made a formal finding that Lee had removed something from the scene and never turned it over to the prosecution.

Lee flew to China on a business trip Tuesday and told the Associated Press it was now unlikely he would testify in the trial. "The bottom line is I did not take a fingernail," he said in a phone interview Tuesday.


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