Spector Prosecutor Makes Closing Remarks
Wednesday, September 5, 2007; 11:17 PM
LOS ANGELES -- In a hushed courtroom, the dead Lana Clarkson came to life on a video screen Wednesday, smiling, laughing and dancing, her appearance juxtaposed with the testimony of five women at Phil Spector's murder trial as they recounted confrontations with Spector, a gun and threats of death.
"This is Lana Clarkson," said prosecutor Alan Jackson, in the tone of a master of ceremonies introducing a star, as he concluded his closing argument to the jury.
The scenes, accompanied by music, were excerpts from a self-produced video of Clarkson that was introduced in evidence by the defense. They were the most flattering segments of Clarkson, emphasizing the actress' beauty and ebullience.
Countering defense claims that Clarkson shot herself, Jackson said she had career plans and wanted to live.
In the final moments of his daylong closing, Jackson made liberal use of TV footage of witnesses _ five women who told of being threatened by a gun-wielding, drunken Spector in the past, some as long as 30 years ago, and the chauffeur who told of seeing Spector come out of his mansion with a gun in his hand declaring, "I think I killed somebody."
Jackson suggested the words "probably should have been: 'I finally killed somebody.'"
Spector, the 67-year-old producer of past hit records, is accused of second-degree murder in the death of the 40-year-old Clarkson, who died of a gunshot fired in her mouth while seated in the foyer of his home about 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2003. The jury is expected to get the case Friday.
Jackson played video excerpts from testimony of all five women, editing their remarks to focus on Spector's drinking habits, use of guns and events that led up to threats in decades past when they tried to leave his home or a hotel room.
"There's a recipe for what sets Mr. Spector off," Jackson said. "There's a reason why he does what he does."
The prosecutor focused on the phrase "I think I killed somebody," which chauffeur Adriano De Souza testified Spector uttered.
"Did he even remember her name?" Jackson said. "Was she just an anonymous somebody who deserved a bullet in her head? No. She had a heart and a soul. She had her ups and downs. She was a sister, a daughter, a friend. She was very much a human being and she deserved so much more than just to be somebody."
He then showed the upbeat video. Clarkson's mother, in a front-row seat, began to sob.
Jackson was low-key early in his summation but turned up the drama late in the day. He used charts with headlines such as "Bending and Twisting the Truth" to describe defense scientists, and "The True Evidence" when discussing testimony of prosecution experts.
He played a profanity-laced recording of Spector leaving answering machine messages for one of the five women. The prosecutor highlighted a profane statement attributed to Spector saying that all women deserved a bullet through the head.
"And how did Lana Clarkson meet her fate?" he said. "Sitting in the foyer of his house with a bullet in her head."
His voice rose to a near shout as he denounced Spector for failing to call 911 to help Clarkson.
"Even a 3-year-old knows to call 911," he said. "Lana Clarkson was lying dead in Phil Spector's foyer, and he never called 911. What's the explanation? Panic?"
He answered the question: "Who's the last person you want showing up on your doorstep if you just killed someone? The police."
Toward the end of his argument, Jackson drew a chair toward the jury box and sat down, saying he wanted to "visit" with the jury and talk about the case in commonsense terms.
"Lana Clarkson is entitled to your justice," he said.
The defense's closing argument was to be delivered Thursday by attorney Linda Kenney-Baden. Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler asked Spector whether he was sure that he wanted Kenney-Baden to do the summation, since she was out sick for much of the defense's case. Spector said he did.
Kenney-Baden was the subject of remarks by Jackson attacking the testimony of her husband, forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, a key defense witness. Jackson said Baden took a vow to tell the truth but his marriage vows might have overwhelmed that, suggesting he tailored his testimony to help his wife win.
The prosecutor accused the defense of using Spector's money to "buy" scientific opinions, calling witnesses who sought the limelight and dragging Clarkson's reputation through the mud.
"She's been murdered twice," Jackson said. "She was murdered once on Feb. 3, 2003, by Phillip Spector when he put a gun in her mouth and that gun went off. And her character has been assassinated over the last four months through the presentation of the defense evidence, attempting to paint her in a way that simply isn't true."
The prosecutor said Spector's team presented "a checkbook defense."
"You hire enough lawyers to hire enough experts. If you pay someone enough money you can get them to wear a tutu in court. You can get them to say just about anything in court."
The defense at one point complained that Jackson had gone over the line with accusations that suggested Spector's attorneys told witnesses what to say.
The judge agreed that was improper and said he would instruct jurors on the point.
Spector was famed for his "Wall of Sound" recording technique, which made him a leading producer of rock music in the 1960s and '70s. Clarkson appeared in the 1985 cult film "Barbarian Queen."