Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Phil Spector: The 'Mad Genius' of Rock'n'Roll

'Let's Get to
the Point'

Phil Spector's 24-year-old daughter, Nicole Spector, made a brief appearance on the stand. The defense attempted to elicit testimony from her that would have presented a different picture of the defendant from what they had seen so far. In describing her relationship with her father after her parents divorced when she was eight, she began to present a sympathetic portrait of a loving father, but Judge Fidler cut short the trip down memory lane. "Let's get to the point," he admonished the defense. The judge did allow her to testify that her father is right-handed.

On the same day the defense called sheriff's department computer analyst Thomas Fortier who had performed a word search on Lana Clarkson's laptop computer for the words, suicide, murder, and depression. Fortier testified that he had located a 2002 e-mail message she had written to a friend, which contained the sentence: "The depression level I am experiencing makes me very spent and worn out." Clarkson had also saved an e-mail from the Screen Actor's Guild offering depression screening at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

On cross-examination Deputy DA Alan Jackson asked if it was true that the word suicide did not appear anywhere on Lana Clarkson's laptop. "That's correct," Fortier answered.

The jury was shown a 30-minute promotional video that Clarkson had made to showcase her talents. On the tape, titled Lana Unleashed, she plays a nun, a lonely woman who has bad luck with dates, a Vegas showgirl, a rock groupie, a Barbie Doll, and singer Little Richard selling makeup on the Home shopping network. The tape elicited laughter and tears from spectators in the courtroom, including Clarkson's sister, Fawn.

The tape was shown in conjunction with testimony from defense witness Nick Terzian who had been Clarkson's agent for many years. But rather than bolstering the defense's contention that Clarkson was a depressed and desperate unemployed actress, Terzian testified that she was a "consistent moneymaker" with a "good career." She had been out of work for nine months after breaking both her wrists in 2002, but according to Terzian, after her recovery, she was happy to be "back in the game" and had added voiceover work to her repertoire. Terzian revealed that she had landed two jobs just three days before she died. One of those jobs, in which she was to appear in a cellular phone commercial, was scheduled to begin five days after her death.

Clarkson's good friend, Nili Hudson, testified that Clarkson was "very excited to move forward" after recovering from her 2002 injuries. Hudson said that Clarkson had been depressed over her lost of income while she was unable to work, but the notion that she was suicidal was "absurd, absolutely absurd." Hudson told the jury that on the day before Clarkson died, the actress had told her that she was going shopping for comfortable shoes that she could wear at her House of Blues job.

Film director Michael Bay took the stand and rebutted previous testimony given by Punkin Laughlin that he had snubbed Lana Clarkson at a party. Bay, whose films include Pearl Harbor and Transformers, testified that Clarkson was no shrinking violet and he would definitely have noticed her at a party. "She was funny, she was saucy, she had no qualms coming right up to someone," Bay said. He added that she would have slapped him across the face if he had tried to snub her. Though Bay could not recall the exact date of the party in question, he was certain that he had not seen Clarkson during that time period. "I did not have contact with Lana," he testified. "She did not have contact with me."

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