Prosecutors get hands on Phil Spector’s deposition

Prosecutors who accuse Phil Spector of murder can see part of his sworn deposition in a lawsuit against a former defense lawyer, a judge ruled on Thursday, giving them access to testimony that could come back to haunt the rock producer at trial.

Though the deposition centers largely on Spector’s financial dispute with his ex-attorney, Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said that it also contains statements by the 65-year-old music impresario that bear on the trial.

“There is not a smoking gun, but there is, in my mind, information that is discoverable” by prosecutors, Fidler said in rejecting defense arguments the testimony was irrelevant to the murder case.

He said prosecutors could see the parts of the deposition relating to the murder, saying that they may shed light on the timeline of events and Spector’s sobriety at the time.

Spector is accused of shooting 40-year-old actress Lana Clarkson to death in the foyer of his Los Angeles-area mock castle in the early morning hours of February 3, 2003. Spector, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled to stand trial in April or May.

Spector’s attorneys also said that lawyers in the civil case had pledged to keep the deposition transcript sealed, but Fidler said they did not have the authority to keep it from prosecutors.

The judge has not determined if Spector’s statements could be used against him at trial, a ruling that depends partly on whether the rock impresario testifies in his own defense.

Prosecutors have not seen the deposition yet, while defense lawyers claim that nothing in it is ‘salient’ to the case.

Spector, best known for his work with the Beatles and his signature “Wall of Sound” recording technique, is charged with murdering Clarkson hours after they met at the House of Blues rock club on the Sunset Strip.

An autopsy report concluded that Clarkson, the star of such B-movies as “Barbarian Queen” and “Amazon Women on the Moon,” died after a revolver was placed into her mouth and fired.

Spector’s lawyers are expected to argue that Clarkson committed suicide, echoing claims the producer made to police shortly after they arrived on the scene.

Credit: Reuters

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