Rock producer Phil Spector, who faces trial later this year charged with the 2003 murder of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson, was sued for wrongful death Thursday by the slain woman’s mother.
Donna Clarkson also accuses Spector of negligence and battery, charging in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that the 64-year-old record producer “grabbed, hit, fought with and restrained” her daughter before shooting her to death on Feb. 3, 2003.
“The Clarkson family had hoped that there would be some resolution with regard to the criminal proceedings before moving forward with the civil action,” Donna Clarkson’s attorneys, Roderick Lindblom and John Taylor, said in a written statement.
“However, Ms. Clarkson and her family understand that the fair administration of justice takes time and in light of the numerous changes Mr. Spector has made in his legal defense team over the last two years, Ms. Clarkson was forced to file the action before (the statute of limitations expired) on Feb. 3, 2005.”
Spector is accused of shooting Clarkson, star of such films as “Amazon Women on the Moon” and “The Barbarian Queen,” in the foyer of his imitation castle home near Los Angeles. An autopsy report concluded that a gun was placed in the 40-year-old actress’s mouth and fired.
Prosecutors say police found blood and gunshot residue on Spector, as well as evidence that he had cleaned and moved the gun after the shooting. They say the reclusive music producer has a history of pointing guns at women.
Spector, best known for his “Wall of Sound” recording technique and work with the Beatles, has claimed that Clarkson committed suicide for reasons he does not understand and his attorneys have vowed to prove him innocent at trial.
“Phil did not cause the death of this woman, he’s not criminally responsible and he’s not civilly responsible either,” Spector lead attorney Bruce Cutler said. “But I’m not surprised they filed a suit for money, that seems to be de rigueur nowadays.”
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge is expected to set a trial date later this month for Spector, who was indicted on murder charges in September.
“Our intent is to let the criminal proceedings go forward and not do anything that would interfere with the prosecution,” Lindblom said.