Friday, February 20, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Question & Answers II

Due to popular demand, I've opened up another Question & Answers entry. Ask, and I will try my best to answer.

Hopefully before it gets too late, I'll have my notes covering the jury visit up. The delay is because I'm uploading a video with Blogger and it's taking forever. When it's finished, it will be as a new entry after this one.


Anonymous said...

I am not here desperately waiting for you to post, no, not at all.

Anonymous said...

Please give us an update on the never-ending Phil Spector trial. I can't believe this case is not being covered by court tv. They were obsessed with the 1st trial & their ratings were sky high. Now they don't even mention it.

Sprocket said...

I promise. An update is coming this evening, just as soon as Blogger gets this video loaded. It's very short but it's taking a loonnnggg time!

Anonymous said...

I fear we are all waiting impatiently Stef!

A small question Sprocket
Why do you think the jury are interested in sitting in the car? All that ADS heard from the car was the gunshots (I think).

many thanks

Anonymous said...

Was the fountain on? Was it loud? Is anyone going to investigate it? I guess I should wait, probably all this and more will be in the next entry.

Best, Christine

Sprocket said...

The car
This is my best guess.

Adriano would have been inside the car when Spector first emerged from the house with the gun in his hand. Maybe they wanted to see what Adriano would have seen, from the car.

Sprocket said...

The Fountain
This was discussed by counsel and the court, decided upon, and reported in prior entries.

The prosecution was not able to present any conclusive evidence to the court that the fountain has been altered or that the sound is different.

After hearing that Detective Tomlin was not able to say if the fountain noise level was the same as the night in question, Judge Fidler reviewed some case law and decided.

The fountain would be on, but the jurors would be told that the site visit is not a recreation of the night in question. There are many things that can not be duplicated and the fountain is one of them.

Anonymous said...

What do you think the suicidologist (sp) is going to say that may make the jury think that LC decided to " kill herself" ?

I love your Blog. Your doing a great job. Thank you for doing it.


Geralyn said...

Do you think Fidler will replace Juror #5? Who will we be loosing if he is let go? If JF replaces this juror, and I realize this is speculation, but do you think his ruling would be based more on the illness in his family or on the economic hardship. I understand the financial burden on jurors, especially in these economic times...but I always thought jurors would have to dip into their savings. Let's face it, the money jurors earn while on jury duty is shockingly low.

Thanks so much for taking our questions!

Anonymous said...

It is clear that you are being very polite about the Rachelle situation. Will the day ever come (after the trial, perhaps) when you will tell all?
Here's hoping you do!
- Tim, your fan in Los Feliz

Sprocket said...

Juror #5 & what will happen

It will all depend on what further information #5 supplies to the court. Certainly if there is a financial hardship on the juror that he can substantiate, it would be my guess that Fidler would excuse him. From what Fidler said, "He's been paying out of pocket" and I don't have it written down but I seem to remember Fidler added "the last few weeks" after that. My best guess on that is, #5's employer can no longer afford to pay for his jury service so he was "paying himself, out of pocket." That's just a guess mind you. We will have to wait and see Monday morning what happens.

At this point I don't have plans to discuss anything regarding Mrs. Spector's illegal activities at the courthouse.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Sprocket,

I cannot fall asleep unless I read your entries cover to cover! (Often I'm perusing just prior to the sun coming up in NE Ohio.) Thanks so much for your fine journalistic talents.

My question is: Besides Bradley Brunon, have any other attorneys from the former defense team returned to 106? Have they been referenced in testimony by W?

Keep up the great work, my friend.

Sprocket said...

Thank you for the kind words everyone.

The Former Defense Team
I've seen Robert Shapiro (the attorney to thank when thinking of how long Spector has been out on bail) in the hallway when he was defending someone in 107 across the hall (during Spector voir dire) and I've seen him in the cafeteria on the first floor. He's very slender and almost bald now. His suits are quite nice.

I've seen Roger Rosen in the 9th floor hallway several times. At one time, he went up to Truc Do and greeted her with a kiss on the cheek. They are obviously friendly and know each other.

Other than Brunon, I have not seen anyone else from the defense team step into 106.

Weinberg has only mentioned the prior team in front of the jury when reading from the prior trial transcript as part of questioning. Same with the prosecution. They may have been mentioned as part of arguments outside the presence of the jury but nothing significant comes to mind.

It was Fidler who addressed Brunon from the bench the day he stopped in.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sprocket,

Wendy W here, first time poster, long time fan. Please let me add my voice to the chorus of thanks you deserve for bringing this trial to light.

My question regards the position of poor Lana's body when police arrived since I've been confused by the testimony I've read. First, was she in the front of the house (the entry near the 80 steps) or was she in the back of the house (near were ADS was parked)?

Also, was she seated in the chair or lying on the floor?

Finally, in your opinion has it been established by the prosecution
that PS moved her body in any way?

Thanks in advance and keep up the excellent work. I can't believe how addicted to your blog I've become!!!! 8~)

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if the defense and the prosection were at the house also? I was just happy to learn that Rachelle followed the judge's order and she wasn't in the jury's view

Sprocket said...

The position of Lana's body
The chair that Lana was seated in was near the rear entrance of the house, in the foyer where there was the stairwell (she was opposite the stairs) and a downstairs bathroom. She was near the back door that led out into the motor court where the fountain was.

Her body has been described as half in the chair and half out of it. Her derriere was just on the front edge of the chair seat. Here legs were straight out in front of her; her knees were not bent.

Understand that the seat of the chair is quite low. IIRC, it's only about 16" off the ground. I could see how Adriano, when he leaned around Spector and looked into the back door of the residence could at first mistake that she was on the floor.

If you search the internet, you might be able to find some of the evidence photos that depict her, in the chair.

It's been argued that Spector moved Lana's head from the far right to the far left. There was a significant blood flow down the right side of her jacket. When she was found however, her head was leaning to the left.

The distance between De Souza and Spector

I've looked through all my notes. I cannot find it documented in my notes where I remember AJ specifically asked De Souza, to use the laser pointer and point to the area (in an image of the rear entrance of the house up on the ELMO) "where" Spector was standing when he emerged from the house and spoke.

I remember that. I did find in my notes where Weinberg crossed him on this issue.

DW: Did you place Spector here, on the steps?

I have a memory of AJ asking De Souza how far away, how many feet Spector was from him but I do not have anything in my notes to support my memory.

Sprocket said...

Who was there
Yes. The site visit is technically an "extension of the courtroom" according to Judge Fidler. Fidler was there in his robes, along with a court reporter. The defense and prosecution were also present.

My understanding is from Ms. Deutsch that there were quite a few people there (I'm guessing lots of sheriff's and Alhambra officers) and the rooms (which she described as "small") were crowded.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any talk of Spector taking the stand? To put it bluntly, if Spector did nothing wrong and Lana grabbed a gun and shot herself, Phil Spector should testify as to what happened. I know that jurors aren't supposed to base their verdict on whether the defendant testified, but in a case were there were only two witnesses and one is dead, a defendant has to take the stand if he really is innocent.

I do remember seeing one of Spector's friends being interviewed on Court TV during the first trial. She said that Phil Spector would not do well if he testified and would make wisecracks and sarcastic comments. She said, "Not good. Not good."

Thanks again for covering the trial.

David From TN.

Sprocket said...

Spector Testifying
No one knows until the defense team reveals it.

Remember that the defense is only giving the prosecution three days notice of who their next witnesses are. Additionally, if Spector does refuse to testify, that will have to be stated on the record in open court. I do believe thought, that this is done outside the presence of the jury.

Southam said...

Not a chance in hell that Spector will testify. I saw him once give a drunken speech in 1989 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Even when he's not drunk he's too unpredictable.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. Thank you!

Any plans for a book? Or would you consider it if approached by a publisher?

Any comparison between this jury and the one in PS1?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the clarifications in this section of the blog.

Is there something wrong with my computer, or are there now no comments for the house visit report?

Sprocket said...

A Book
At this time I have no plans to write a book. That would require more time and effort and I've already put in a ton of time covering the trial.

Jury Visit Entry
The jury visit entry is right between the Q&A entry and the Chandra Levy entry. It's titled Day 45, Jury Site Visit. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see a photo of Lana in the chair, go to

Take notice of the huge mirror behind the chair. I would bet MONEY that Spector reveled in not only wielding such power over her, but in WATCHING himself in the mirror as he did it, admiring himself and getting off on it.

It's so sad that that is probably one of the last sights that Lana saw -- him looking at HER like that.

You might also be interested in this one (from the first trial) of Spector giving his patented "Stare Of Death" to Dr. Lynne Herold at

Carol L Beck said...

The link is there sometimes and not there the next time. I thought it was just me. Carol

Sprocket said...

Did anyone see into the bar area where so much liquor was stored?

The reporters on the scene did not mention or note anything about whether or not the jurors looked at the bar area.

Anonymous said...

If he is convicted, don't you think he can stay out of prison by endless appeals? Have you heard anything about that? Won't his daughter be sort of disappointed if he exhausts all his financial resources on that and the Clarkson trial so she won't be getting anything after all? Is there any sort of consensus among the people you talk to about the chances of a conviction this time?

Anonymous said...

What will the jury make of Shapiro's (the screen writer) testimony that when he heard of Lana's death he immediately thought of her email talking about suicide and that is why he called police to report the emails?

Sprocket said...

What happens after the verdict:
It's my prediction that Spector will not be "out on bail" pending an appeal.

It's my opinion that all Nicole thinks about is her father going to prison. I think it's evident from what she has stated in the press and on the stand that she loves her father and thinks he is innocent. I have no idea if she is worried about her inheritance or not.

As far as the Clarkson's civil suit against Spector, I believe they would be able to attach future earnings and royalties.

Opinions on outcome of the trial:
You can never predict what a jury will do. Just think about the last trial. I think no one would have predicted that we would have had a hung jury.

Understand that the prosecution, as well as the defense, are more focused this time. Even though the trial is dragging out, (taking a longer time than anticipated) I think the evidence is being presented much better.

Anon @ 10:17 am:
I'm sorry, but I do not believe you are correct. David Schapiro never implied that she committed suicide or thought that she implied that in her E-mail.

When he heard of her death he thought his emails in general would be important to the investigation.

This is directly from my notes, covering that portion of his testimony.

Schapiro testifies that he contacted the police to tell them about his email correspondence with Ms. Clarkson. He thought they would be relevant and that he would just mention it. Schapiro believes he learned of her death the day after. He was left a message by a friend.

DS: I believe that I first heard the defense (team) said she had committed suicide and I felt I needed to turn them (the emails) over. [...] I can't remember who I spoke to.

DW: Let me refresh your memory. [...] Do you remember speaking to Danny Smity and Robert Kenney? [...] Did you reach out to the defense at all or....

DS: No. I just contacted the prosecution.

Anonymous said...


Hello - hope you are having a great day! I LOVE the Q + A feature - thanks for doing another!

So far, based on your reporting, it does not sound like the Defense has built a particularly compelling case and that at least a couple of their witnesses have backfired, with the bizarre "Punkin Pie" still to go.

My question is what have been the most telling or persuasive moments for the Defense?

Thanks again!

mControl said...

I just wanted to add that the distance from where Adriano was allegedly parked (a place where I parked almost daily) allows for a direct view into the foyer on the 'house' side of the fountain. And it is approximately (I wear a size 8 shoe) 8 steps to the stairs of the foyer entrance. Not very far at all. I'd also add that the fountain was repaired at least 4 times while I worked there - new pipes and filter system, so it was considerably 'louder' than on the night in question. The lighting has always been adequate - the exterior sconces used 100watt bulbs and were replaced several times during my years as they are ALWAYS on - and therefore burnt out quickly. The chair that Lana was found in is positioned towards the foyer doorway - (in other words, while both the chairs are facing the stairway, the chair Lana was in faced the stairway but was turned toward the door) meaning that as Adriano approached the open door and PS standing there with gun in hand, from the Murdercedes, (which was facing southeast - drivers side door to the house) he would have had a perfect view of Lana splayed in the chair. The lighting in the foyer is from the chandelier above (generally fully loaded with bulbs and on high) and from interior sconces and lamps on the table as PS always found the house 'looked classier' when all lit up like a Christmas tree. (Hence the strung up xmas lights around the fountain). Just saying is all... MB

Sprocket said...

Thank you so much for the information Michelle.

I believe the jurors were told that on that night, the "candles" (meaning? sconces on the walls ?? or the overhead lighting ?? in the foyer) were not on. I believe that's supported by photographic evidence, but I'm not positive.

Now, whether or not certain foyer lights were on and Spector turned them out later, that's a possibility since he was in the house 40 minutes unattended.

Anonymous said...

I miised you on Talk Radio One. Are you returning there with Juror #9 again?

Sprocket said...

Talk Radio One
I'm on the show at the request of Mr. Germain. I have no idea if he has plans of inviting Juror #9 back. If you would like him on, I suggest you contact the show and let them know. I am usually on at the end of the week. Mr. Germain wanted me on this past Thursday but when he wrote me, I told him I was very tired due to little sleep and being out at the jury visit. I chose to lie down and rest rather than stay up for another two hours when he wanted me on.

The best defense
That's hard for me to say. Even though I am making a concerted effort to write my reports in as neutral a tone as possible, I openly admit that I'm biased.

I think that the most effective witness to support that Spector may not have been as "close" to Lana as Dr. Herold testified when the gun went off was James Pex. However, he was shown to have falsified an experiment to the jurors. So it remains to be seen if his testimony was effectively neutralized on cross.

I personally do not think the Defense made any headway in showing that Lana could have been "suicidal" on the night in question. At least not yet anyway. I'm betting that Punkin Pie will still be testifying either this week or next.

I think John Barons may have painted the most accurate description of her behavior, but not necessarily moved the defense position forward that she was suicidal. You have to acknowledge that even after she was fired from the play, she wrote him a note that clearly showed she was gracious and had no hard feelings about his decision.

This and That
Several of you have written me some questions, and I thought I would answer them here, for everyone to contemplate.

Lesser Included Charges
Back before the very beginning of the first trial, in pretrial hearings I remember overhearing one of the accredited press talk about their conversations with several attorney's around the courthouse. The reporter said, that every counsel they talked, felt that the case should have been charged as manslaughter. I don't know if the reporter was talking to defense attorneys, or DDA's, but I'm guessing defense attorneys who did not know all the facts of the case. Mind you, just guessing on that.

The thing is, if you examine the facts of the case, in no way does it qualify for manslaughter under the California Penal Code. Here's my reasoning on that. It comes directly from Judge Fidler on the bench when they were hammering out jury instructions in trial #1.

Fidler stated that the position of the gun, inside her mouth and beyond the line of her teeth showed that the gun was placed there. In his mind, that showed that the firearm did not get in her mouth "accidentally." Ergo, the position of the firearm brings the lesser included charge of manslaughter off the table. Neither side wanted the option of manslaughter in the first place, IIRC.

Calling Michelle Blaine to the stand
There is no reason what so ever to call Michelle Blaine to the stand, unless, and only in case Spector takes the stand in his own defense.

The prosecution has De Souza's own testimony on the stand that he at first called Michelle and didn't reach her. That's substantiated by the message on her answering machine. There's no reason to call her to verify that. The tape of his call to her is evidence enough that he didn't reach her.

In fact, I don't think this issue is contended by either side because if I'm remembering correctly, no one introduced that audio tape into evidence before the jury. In my opinion, it's not relevant to move the case forward.

More testimony:j
I'm currently working on Wednesday morning's testimony. I'm almost finished and it should be up within an hour or so. After that I'll be working on Thursdays' testimony.

shari said...

Great job answered so many points for all of us. You have done such a bang-up job on this that I (and others) feel like we are in the courtroom with you. I just hope that the jury comes back with justice for Lana (and some of the others PS terrified)and a l o o o o n g prison sentence for the "troll." No one is more deserving of a cell than this evil little pathetic excuse for a man.

Anonymous said...

If (a big if) Phil Spector does take the stand in his own defense will the prosection be able to ask him about his other gun play that wasnt introduced to the jury, like the John Lennon incident?

Sprocket said...

If Spector took the stand,

It's my understanding mind you, that he would be able to be crossed on anything and everything. In cross, you have a wide latitude to be able to discredit a witness.

So I think there would be quite a bit there that the prosecution could ask him about. They could ask him how tall he is. What medications he takes. They could ask him what he meant by statements he made in the press. They could bring in EVERYTHING he's said, ever about women.

When you think about that, you can come to a reasonable projection that he will never take the stand.

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, thanks for great summaries of Day 44 & 45.

Someone compared Phil Spector to that character Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, aging has-been totally wrapped up in former glory, so after she murders someone and he's floating in her pool at a house that looks a lot like Spectors, the lights and cameras show up and she gets another moment of glory in the limelight.

I wonder if Phil would want to do the same by taking the stand. The only drawback is that as you said he seems hardly able to talk.

Has anyone made any sort of diagnosis as to what is wrong with his throat? It seems very odd karma indeed, since Lana was shot in the throat, that Phil Spector is having such problems with his own throat.

Sprocket said...

Spector's Throat
That's an interesting comparison: Spector's vocal cord problem and Lana being shot in the throat.

This was discussed by Weinberg outside the presence of the jury (in December) when Weinberg was requesting a day off from court so that Spector could have the surgery on his throat. If I am recalling correctly, there are growths on his vocal cords.

However, it doesn't sound like Spector had the surgery. He may have but his voice sounds the same.