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Celebrity Defense Lawyer Dismissed in Phil Spector Jury Selection

A defense lawyer in another Southern California celebrity case was among those dismissed Tuesday in the second day of jury selection for record producer Phil Spector's murder trial.

One prospect identified himself as an attorney representing someone in the prosecution of private eye Anthony Pellicano, who is accused of wiretapping Hollywood stars and a billionaire's ex-wife.

Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler excused him and several stay-at-home mothers who said serving on Spector's case, which is expected to last four months, would be a hardship.

Spector -- creator of the "Wall of Sound" that revolutionized the recording of rock music -- is accused of killing cult movie actress Lana Clarkson, who was shot in the foyer of his castle-like home Feb. 3, 2003. She was working as a hostess at the House of Blues when she went home with Spector that night.

The initial phase of jury selection ended Tuesday with about 200 prospects ordered to return for individual questioning, which begins April 16.

Prospective jurors who were not dismissed were told to fill out an 18-page questionnaire, which includes a category called "Attitudes about celebrities and high-profile people."

"We have lots of reading to do," prosecutor Pat Dixon said as he pushed a cart full of questionnaires.

Spector, whose age has been reported variously as 66 and 67, and his wife watched proceedings with three burly bodyguards who accompany them everywhere. His attorney, Roger Rosen, said afterward that Spector has health problems, which he did not specify.

"He's doing OK," Rosen said. "He has had a number of health issues over the last year and he's not past all of them yet."

The jury will consider conflicting evidence about what happened before police found Clarkson, 40, slumped dead in a chair, her teeth blown out by a gunshot to her mouth.

The coroner's office called it a homicide, but also noted that Clarkson had gunshot residue on both of her hands and may have pulled the trigger.

In an e-mail to friends, Spector called the death "an accidental suicide." He has pleaded not guilty and has been free on $1 million bail since his arrest. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Spector produced the Beatles' "Let It Be" album and George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh," and has been cited as an influence by Bruce Springsteen and countless other artists.

He also wrote such rock classics as "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Be My Baby," "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" and "River Deep-Mountain High," although his name is rarely mentioned along with the artists who recorded the songs.

Murder Indictment (People v. Spector)