Prosecutors in the murder trial against Phil Spector presented only “speculation instead of certainty” as to who pulled the trigger when actress Lana Clarkson died, the music producer’s attorney told jurors Thursday in closing arguments.
Spector’s attorney Linda Kenney-Baden counterattacked the prosecutor’s hours-long closing argument the previous day, contending that Spector was too far away to have fired the gun inside Clarkson’s mouth and instead that Clarkson killed herself.
“Finally after four years of investigation, five months of trial and approximately 70 witnesses, we now have a variety of the government’s speculations as to how this could have happened,” Kenney-Baden said.
“Some of them, you heard yesterday, include: The gun fell into her mouth. She was talking and he put the gun in her mouth. She screamed and he put the gun in her mouth. It even got to the point (where) a big gust of wind or an earthquake could have made the gun go off. It must have been San Andreas’ fault,” she said sarcastically.
Prosecutor Alan Jackson’s closing argument Wednesday had repeatedly attacked the high-profile forensic experts hired by Spector, calling it a “checkbook defense.”
Earlier in the morning, Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler told the jury Jackson had made some mistakes in his closing argument. The judge said Jackson crossed the line by characterizing the defense case as having murdered or assassinated Clarkson’s character.
Fidler said he had determined certain evidence about Clarkson’s background was relevant and it was therefore fair for the defense to present it.
Spector, 67, is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Clarkson, 40, who died of a gunshot in the foyer of his home around 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2003. The star of the 1985 cult film “Barbarian Queen” had gone home with Spector from her job as a nightclub hostess.
Spector remained intent on having Kenney-Baden deliver the closing summation despite warnings by the judge, who said Spector was taking a risk by having her deliver the argument because she was absent for a large part of the defense case while ill.
Kenney-Baden said blood spatters on Clarkson’s wrists, hands and clothes were where they would be if she held the gun, and there was no “void area” where another shooter’s hands, arm or body intercepted spatter.
The attorney said blood found on Spector’s coat got there perhaps as he moved toward her, threw his hands up as she fired the gun or leaned over to help her. But Kenney-Baden said the coat did not have the “fine misting” of blood that would be there if Spector was the shooter.
“Stories don’t trump science and they can’t prove Phil Spector killed Lana Clarkson,” Kenney-Baden said.
Kenney-Baden asserted that the condition of Spector’s white coat was proof he didn’t kill Clarkson, but “unfortunately for him, the name Phil Spec becoming the first notch in the government’s gun belt was more important than this crucial finding of innocence.”
Jackson criticized Kenney-Baden in his summation over the fact that her husband, forensic expert Michael Baden, testified for the defense. Jackson suggested Baden tailored his testimony to help his wife win and suggested he and other scientific witnesses were hired guns who would say anything for money.
Countering the defense claim that Clarkson was depressed and killed herself, Jackson ended his presentation with video excerpts from a self-produced video that Clarkson tried to use to market her talents.
“This is Lana Clarkson,” announced Jackson, in the tone of an emcee introducing a star.
The video had been introduced in evidence by the defense to show how desperately Clarkson pursued fame, only to be meet with rejection. Jackson showed segments emphasizing the actress’ beauty and ebullience.
Spector was famed for his “Wall of Sound” recording technique, which made him a leading producer of rock music in the 1960s and ’70s.