Criminal Procedure

Judge Gags Spector as Jury Deliberates

The trial judge in Phil Spector’s second-degree murder case issued a gag order prohibiting the famed music producer and his wife from commenting to the media as the jury began deliberations today.

Saying that the Los Angeles case “will be decided based on the facts in the courtroom,” Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler told Spector and his wife to say nothing further to reporters. His order was in reaction to a British tabloid article quoting Spector and implying that he has little confidence in the judge or the jury, as well an interview that Rachelle Spector gave last week, writes the Los Angeles Times. (The judge’s order also applies to the relatives of Spector’s alleged victim.)

The Daily Mail apparently didn’t post the article on its Web site, but it has been widely reported by other news media. “Spector is quoted as saying that Fidler didn’t like him. Spector also reportedly said that his future was in the hands ‘of 12 people who voted for George Bush,’ ” recounts the Times.

Spector disavowed the Daily Mail quotes as he was walking into court this morning, the Times article states, and defense lawyer Linda Kenney Baden told Fidler that her client “absolutely trusts this jury.”

Spector, 67, is accused of shooting Lana Clarkson, a 40-year-old restaurant hostess and former movie actress, to death in the wee hours of Feb. 3, 2003. Her body was found slumped on a chair in the foyer of Spector’s mansion. The defense says she accidentally shot herself. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

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