Phil Spector was “angry in general” during a visit to an exclusive room at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip where the record producer met Lana Clarkson, a cocktail waitress testified today (May 15) in Spector’s trial on charges of murdering the actress.
The characterization by witness Sophia Holguin surprised defense attorney Roger Rosen, who was cross-examining her about serving Spector in the club’s Foundation Room in the hours before Clarkson, a hostess there, went home with Spector in the early hours of Feb. 3, 2003, and died of gunshot fired through her mouth.
The testimony by Holguin and other nightclub personnel was setting the stage for a chauffeur to take the stand to tell his view of Spector’s night on the town, which the defense claims ended with Clarkson shooting herself.
Holguin testified under prosecution questioning that Clarkson initially didn’t know who the diminutive Spector was and called him “Miss Spector” before Holguin explained he was a multimillionaire producer and asked Clarkson to seat him in her area because he was known as a big tipper — he eventually tipped $450 on a $13.50 bill.
“He was very, very agitated and very fast-speaking, a little slurrish,” Holguin said when Deputy District Attorney Pat Dixon asked about Spector’s demeanor.
Holguin said he finished the drink he ordered, a high-alcohol Bacardi 151 served straight up, and asked for another but was refused because it was after 2 a.m., the cutoff time for serving alcohol.
The witness also said that at one point Clarkson was busily fluffing pillows and moving about the room, drawing a comment from Spector. “He said, ‘She won’t stay still. She’s like (expletive) Charlie Chaplin,'” Holguin testified.
Holguin also said she last saw Clarkson walking into an elevator with Spector. Holguin didn’t mention anger until Rosen cross-examined her about Spector’s behavior after she declined his invitations to join him for a drink and to go home with him.
When Rosen asked if Spector got angry, she said no. When Rosen asked if Spector yelled or screamed, Holguin said he was loud. “But he wasn’t angry?” Rosen asked. “Not angry with me, he just seemed angry in general,” she said.
Rosen asserted that Holguin hadn’t mentioned anger to detectives who interviewed her, but he ultimately dropped the issue and moved on to the disposition of the tip.
Seeking to show how alert Spector was, Rosen elicited from Holguin that Spector specifically instructed her on how to divide the $450 tip among various people working in the room that night.
Also taking the stand was Euphrathes Lalondriz, who was in charge of security that night. He described how celebrities received special treatment and some staff communicated by radios.
He said he received an inquiry from Clarkson about whether she could sit down and have a drink with Spector, and he conferred with a higher-up who said Clarkson could not drink but could sit down with Spector.
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