Phil Spector, the music producer who created the Wall of Sound, is on trial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, who was found dead at Spector’s L.A. home on Feb. 3, 2003. With jury selection slated to resume on April 16, here’s a look at what could be the most riveting Hollywood trial since O.J.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The legacy of the legendary producer (Beatles’ Let It Be), who is facing second-degree-murder and weapons charges. His attorneys refute the allegations — one member of his legal team, Roger Rosen, maintains that Clarkson’s gunshot wound to the mouth was ”self-inflicted…and was either caused through an act of suicide or an accident on her part.” But the actress’ former publicist and good friend Edward Lozzi insists she was ”excited” about life.
WHY IS HOLLYWOOD RIVETED?
Not only is a legend on trial for murder but the whole thing will be televised á la O.J. thanks to a ruling from Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler. And the show is about to start. ”Jury selection is like the kickoff of the county fair,” notes Sitrick and Co. crisis consultant Ross Johnson. ”This could heat up if prosecutors show that Spector has a pattern of [violent behavior] toward women.” And sure enough, the judge has allowed the testimony of four women who, according to court papers, also claim that the producer threatened them with a revolver when things didn’t go his way. But Larry Levine, a recording engineer and Spector’s longtime friend, insists that ”Phil would never intentionally hurt anyone. He only did that when he was drinking. He was showing off his power.”
WHAT COULD HAPPEN TO SPECTOR IF HE’S CONVICTED?
Anywhere from 40 years to life in prison, which means the 67-year-old would probably be incarcerated for his remaining days. Even if he’s acquitted, Spector will still have to face a wrongful-death civil suit that was filed by Clarkson’s family two years ago — and a reputation that’s likely been tarnished beyond all repair.