Spector Defense Faults Investigators

Police who found actress Lana Clarkson dead in Phil Spector's mansion "had murder on their mind" and disregarded anything that was inconsistent with that conclusion, a defense lawyer told jurors at th

Police who found actress Lana Clarkson dead in Phil Spector's mansion "had murder on their mind" and disregarded anything that was inconsistent with that conclusion, a defense lawyer told jurors at the legendary music producer's trial today (April 26).

Bruce Cutler, a New York attorney best known for his defense of mob boss John Gotti, resumed his opening statement this morning, a day after the prosecution portrayed Spector as a longtime victimizer of women.

Cutler said police "interviewed and acted in such a way that anything that was consistent, the evidence will show, with their preconceived notions and theories they embraced. And anything that was not consistent or inconsistent with that 'murder on their mind' they ignored."

Yesterday, Cutler told jurors that authorities were intoxicated by the prospect of arresting a celebrity and said Spector may be the victim of his own success. "The evidence will show that back on Feb. 3 of '03, before they even had a cause of death, let alone a manner of death, they had murder on their mind," Cutler said. "Fame and success come back to haunt you."

Spector, 67, lives in a castle-like mansion in suburban Alhambra, Calif. It was there that he took Clarkson, who wound up dead in the foyer with a gunshot through her mouth. Yesterday, Jurors were shown graphic photographs of Clarkson sprawled on a chair, her hand on her shoulder and blood smeared on her face.

Cutler said Clarkson killed herself: "A self-inflicted gunshot wound can be accidental suicide, and that's what it was."

Prosecutor Alan Jackson told jurors yesterday that they will hear from four women he said were victimized by Spector, who he alleged has a pattern of drunken confrontations in which threatened women he had taken home with guns when they tried to leave.

Cutler said those witnesses, expected to take the stand after opening statements, would be tellers of "tall tales. These were women who were drawn to him and came back to him after the incidents," he said. "The evidence will show they kept taking his money and spending his money."

Cutler attempted to tell jurors about Spector's music career but was told by the judge to stick to the facts. He mentioned Spector's association with John Lennon and George Harrison and said, "This is a man whose music changed the world."

Prosecutors are proceeding on a theory of "implied malice," alleging Spector did not intend to kill Clarkson but caused her death by reckless behavior and taking an extreme risk. If convicted of second-degree murder, he could face 15 years to life in prison.


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