The judge in Phil Spector’s murder trial rejected an emotional plea from the record producer for a one-day delay Thursday because one of his key lawyers has fallen ill.
“I feel completely naked and lost without her,” the 67-year-old music producer told the judge.
Attorney Linda Kenney-Baden, a forensic expert who has questioned many witnesses and made one of the opening statements, has been visibly in pain this week and had to be helped out of court Wednesday.
Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said she wasn’t needed for Thursday’s witnesses and ordered the case to proceed, which it did with testimony from a Hollywood agent and the showing of a video of actress Lana Clarkson, the woman Spector is accused of murdering.
Jurors saw Clarkson performing for the first time in the self-produced video called “Lana Unleashed,” designed to display her comic talents.
The 25-minute production in which she appeared as many characters in costumes and makeup including a black woman peddling cosmetics, a TV talk show host, a nun, a policewoman and a Las Vegas dancer, was greeted with silence in the courtroom. A few jurors smiled. Clarkson’s mother and sister cried.
The defense used the video in cross-examination of Clarkson’s agent in an effort to show that her career was going nowhere before she went to Spector’s home Feb. 3, 2003, and wound up dead, shot through the mouth in the foyer of his mansion. The defense claims she was despondent over her career and killed herself.
The agent, Nick Terzian, portrayed Clarkson as upbeat, enthusiastic and always willing to go the extra mile to get ready for auditions. He said Wednesday she was a top money maker at his agency, but in the last year of her life he had booked her for only two print ads that would have paid her $2,250, less commission.
Terzian said he was impressed with Clarkson’s video but never sent the video to any casting agents.
A friend of Clarkson testified earlier that the actress was devastated after her visit with the agent, who gave her a negative review of the video, which had cost her several thousand dollars to produce.
Before the session began, Spector, in his first personal plea to the judge, stood and addressed Fidler in a raspy voice before jurors entered the room. He offered rare insights into his interaction with his legal team.
“Your honor, Mrs. Baden is my point lady,” he said. “She explains to me everything going on in the trial. She strategically handles all of the defense. She’s the only one I can talk to. At night I talk to her for hours.”
Fidler noted that Spector has an unusually large defense team and that he has already agreed to the absence of former lead lawyer Bruce Cutler, who is taping a TV show.
Fidler said the bulk of the defense case is now being handled by attorney Roger Rosen and he saw no need for a delay. If Kenney-Baden remains ill and is needed to question scientific witnesses, he said he would reconsider.