LOS ANGELES – Five women who testified that Phil Spector threatened them with guns long ago did not reveal a motive for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, his attorney argued to the jury Friday.
The prosecution had called the women to show that the record producer has a pattern of getting drunk and threatening women with guns when they try to leave his presence. But defense attorney Linda Kenney-Baden described the women as "select past relationships" from as long ago as 30 years.
"The government wants you to believe that these alleged incidents prove that Phillip Spector had a motive to kill somebody he only met ... a couple hours before," Kenney-Baden said.
"All of the women here have long-term relationships with Phillip Spector," she said. "The knew him for a long time. Some of them even continued their relationships after the supposed allegations that were testified to."
Spector, 67, is accused of second-degree murder. Clarkson, 40, died of a gunshot fired in her mouth while seated in a chair in the foyer of his mansion about 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2003. The star of the 1985 cult film "Barbarian Queen" had gone home with him from her job as a hostess at a nightclub, where she met him a few hours earlier.
From the testimony of the five women, it was learned that "there's a period of time with Phillip where he spends time being charming, romantic, thoughtful," Kenney-Baden said.
"That doesn't fit the psychological profile of somebody who would just kill somebody the first time he met her -- not the same," the attorney said.
Kenney-Baden concluded her 1 1/2-day argument by asserting that police jumped to the conclusion that it was a homicide and "rounded up the usual suspects," but that in fact there was simply an absence of evidence.
The prosecution planned a rebuttal Friday afternoon. Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler was to then instruct the jurors and said the case might not be turned over to them for deliberations until Monday.
Outside the jury's presence, prosecutor Alan Jackson said Kenney-Baden's argument that the five women witnesses had been "selected" was improper because the defense knew there were many more women whose testimony the judge did not allow.
The judge said the issue would have to be cleared up, but how it was to be resolved wasn't immediately clear.
On Thursday, Kenney-Baden asserted that prosecutors presented a black-and-white view in which Spector must have shot Clarkson because he is a bad man and she was a good woman.
"The government thinks that if you are sympathetic with Lana Clarkson you will want to convict Phil Spector," she said. "And wouldn't it be so easy to convict him on that basis, so easy because you hate him from what you've heard? Wouldn't it be so easy? But it would be so wrong."
The defense sought to show through its expert witnesses that Clarkson was depressed about acting career struggles, a financial crisis and other personal problems, and died of a self-inflicted wound, possibly in a spontaneous act fueled by alcohol.
Kenney-Baden addressed the issue of how Clarkson would have known there was a gun in a drawer in the foyer.
"Let's get over the idea that the gun was secreted with Phil Spector's bullets in Phil Spector's drawer," she said, citing testimony by a woman friend of Spector that when they first went out he advised her he had a gun in his car.
"So you can infer ... that he told Lana Clarkson, since it was the first time he met her, that he had a gun or carried a gun and that he had put it in the holster and he put it in the drawer when he came home," she said.
The defense attorney said that if Spector shot Clarkson there would have been far more blood spatter and tissue on the white coat he wore, rather than the minuscule amounts that were found. There was no "void area" in the blood spatter on Clarkson where it would have been intercepted by a shooter's hand, arm or body, she said.
And she sought to rebut perhaps the prosecution's strongest point -- Spector's words as related by a chauffeur who said he saw him come out of his house with a gun in his hand. Adriano De Souza quoted Spector as saying: "I think I killed somebody."
Kenney-Baden said the quote was suspect because English was De Souza's second language -- he emigrated from Brazil -- and because noise could be heard nearby from a fountain in Spector's courtyard, a car radio and music playing in the house.
"Mr. De Souza had the classic problem of a lot of witnesses," she said. "He was simply mistaken."