Judge: Phil Spector’s Lawyer in Contempt
Posted Jun 18, 2007 3:35 PM CST
By Martha Neil
After a month of behind-the-scenes negotiations not heard by the jury in the ongoing Phil Spector murder trial, the judge indicated today that he plans to hold a defense lawyer in contempt.
Because Sara Caplan refuses to testify before the jury about seeing a famous criminalist pick up a small piece of evidence at the music producer's home that has never been provided to the prosecution, Judge Larry Paul Fidler is expected, based on previous statements, to declare her in contempt, order her jailed, and stay the order so it can be appealed, reports AP. Caplan contends that attorney-client privilege precludes her testimony from being compelled, but the judge disagrees.
"Do you understand, if you refuse to testify, I will hold you in contempt?" the judge asked Caplan on Thursday. "I understand," she replied, according to the Los Angeles Times. Wiping tears from her eyes, she said she was insulted that prosecutors would ask her to testify against her now-former client, and pleaded with the judge "Please, do not hold me in contempt."
A contempt hearing is to be held later today, outside the presence of the jury (and, in fact, when it was held, after this article was initially written, the judge did hold Caplan in contempt, the Los Angeles Times reports).
Spector, 67, is accused of having shot Lana Clarkson, 40, to death in February 2003 at his Los Angeles home. He claims she shot herself. Clarkson, a former B-movie actress working as a restaurant hostess, was best-known for her role in 1985's The Barbarian Queen.