Jury selection will begin in March in the murder trial of music producer Phil Spector, who’s charged with killing actress Lana Clarkson in his suburban mansion, a judge said Tuesday.
“We have to get this to trial,” said Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler, who has granted numerous postponements in the case since Spector was arrested for the Feb. 3, 2003 slaying.
Fidler plans to call as many as 300 prospective jurors to his courtroom March 19 to begin the process of identifying those who could serve on a trial that might last three months.
Testimony is unlikely to start until three or four week later, he said.
Spector did not attend the hearing Tuesday, but was ordered to appear for jury selection.
The 67-year-old producer — famed for creating the “wall of sound” recording technique that revolutionized rock music — has pleaded innocent.
Clarkson, 40, was best known as the star of Roger Corman’s cult film “Barbarian Queen.” She was working as a hostess at the House of Blues on Sunset Strip and went home with Spector the night she was killed, police said. Authorities were called when a limousine driver heard a gun go off.
Spector is free on $1 million bail. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Spector has hired a battery of lawyers and forensic experts, including attorney Robert Blasier, a key figure in the O.J. Simpson trial.
Among his requests, Blasier asked for information surrounding the use of a Taser to subdue Spector the night he was arrested, saying its use could have influenced his statements that night. He also sought access to e-mails from Clarkson’s computer, which might indicate whether she was depressed or suicidal at that time.
Spector has claimed Clarkson committed suicide. According to documents filed in the case, Spector told police that Clarkson was waving a gun around and that she ignored him when he told her to put it down.
The judge said the prosecution is obligated to turn over anything from the e-mails that might be helpful to the defense.
Spector, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was the producer of such classic hits as “Be My Baby,” “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling.”