Jurors in the Phil Spector murder trial heard expletive-laced phone messages from the music producer to a former girlfriend, telling her "be careful what you say to me because nothing you say is worth
Jurors in the Phil Spector murder trial heard expletive-laced phone messages from the music producer to a former girlfriend, telling her "be careful what you say to me because nothing you say is worth your life."
The nearly 14-year-old recordings were left for Dorothy Melvin shortly after an incident at Spector's home in which she told police he had pointed a handgun at her. He also makes reference to lawyers in one of the messages, telling Melvin, "I'm going to get you for what you did."
The context of that statement was not explained. Preceding it were several messages in which Spector apologized for his behavior.
Spector has pleaded not guilty in the February 3, 2003, shooting of actress Lana Clarkson at his California mansion. Defense lawyers have argued she shot herself. Prosecutors have called Melvin and others to testify that Spector had a history of recklessness with guns.
In the first of six messages played, Spector said he knew Melvin was in town and hoped she would call him because he wanted to see her. "We'd like to see you and talk to you," he said. "Don't be so mysterious."
He said he was calling on July 2, 1993, the day that Melvin has said the trouble began between them.
Melvin testified earlier in the trial that Spector threatened her with a gun and hit her in the head when she tried to leave his home.
In the second message played, Spector apparently referred to the confrontation that resulted in police being called to his house. "I just want you to know what you did last night was the right thing," he said. "It's what you had to do. It's OK." A third message said he understood if she was upset and added, "I miss you."
His fourth message was even more apologetic: "You never did anything wrong," he said. "It was all me and my inexcusable behavior. I apologize ... I'll stay out of your life. It was not your fault ... I wish you luck, dear. You certainly deserve a lot better than that."
But in the next message the tone changed. He began with a joking comment, then said, "Keep smiling, Dorothy. I expect a return call. But be careful what you say to me because nothing you say is worth your life. Goodbye, Dorothy."
In the last message, the tape of which was quite muffled in the courtroom, Spector mentioned that Melvin was seeing lawyers and said, "You're never going to get out of what you did. I'm going to get you for what you did and you'll see papers Monday morning."
The jurors were given transcripts from which to read along with the statements after the judge turned down a defense motion to edit out profanity.
The tapes were played after Pasadena Police Sergeant Chris Russ testified that Spector ranged from being cooperative to irate when police questioned him about the confrontation with Melvin. "Initially he was cooperative and then he became upset and asked us to leave," Russ said.
The sergeant said he did not see Spector with a handgun but did see him wearing a shoulder holster and saw a shotgun on the premises of Spector's home.
He said Melvin declined to press charges against Spector, saying she did not want publicity because of her position as entertainer Joan Rivers' manager.
Under cross-examination by defense lawyer Roger Rosen, Russ said Spector did not appear to be drunk and that he did not observe any bumps or lumps on Melvin's head. His testimony was the first in more than a week after the trial was delayed by lead defense lawyer Bruce Cutler's unspecified illness.
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