Phil Spector Seeks Reduced Prison Term

A lawyer for Phil Spector said in a court document filed Wednesday that the music producer maintains he did not kill actress Lana Clarkson and is not responsible for her death.

Attorney Doron Weinberg wrote in a memorandum to the sentencing judge, however, that Spector's prison sentence on a second-degree murder conviction should be 18 years to life in prison.

The court document asked that a sentencing enhancement for use of a gun be trimmed to three years, instead of the four requested by Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson. The murder conviction alone mandates 15 years to life in prison.

Spector, 69, was scheduled to be sentenced Friday. He was found guilty April 13 in the shooting death of Clarkson at his home in 2003. Clarkson, who starred in the 1985 cult film "Barbarian Queen," died of a gunshot fired in her mouth as she sat in the foyer of Spector's mansion.

Weinberg had said the conviction would be appealed.

Weinberg also said in the court document that an account of Clarkson's death provided by Jackson in a memorandum last week was "based on conjecture, not facts."

Jackson had offered a theory of the shooting that was not proven by evidence at the trial, suggesting that Spector threatened Clarkson with a loaded gun as she attempted to leave his house and "the end result ... was Lana being shot through the mouth as she recoiled in fear."

Jackson suggested those facts could be deduced from the fact that Spector had threatened women with guns in the past in similar circumstances.

There were no eyewitnesses to the shooting. Weinberg wrote that his client "asserts, as he has steadfastly maintained since February 3, 2003, that he did not kill Lana Clarkson, and he is not responsible for her death."

In arguing for a lesser sentence on the gun charge, Weinberg disclosed that during a private conference with the judge over jury instructions before the verdict, prosecutors had argued "that the facts proven at trial could support the conclusion that the death of Lana Clarkson resulted from an accidental discharge of the weapon during a misdemeanor brandishing."

Weinberg said given that suggestion, the additional term for gun use should be reduced to the minimum of three years.

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