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Lawyer on TV Break from Spector Trial

Posted Jul 10, 2007 3:24 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An able team of defense lawyers is representing music producer Phil Spector in his ongoing Los Angeles murder trial. So lead attorney Bruce Cutler says he is leaving his client in good hands as he takes a break from courtroom duty to appear in a reality television program.

Cutler is to serve as the judge in the program, "Jury Duty," in which parties in small claims cases argue before "Judge Cutler" and a jury made up of three celebrities. But he says he can still prepare adequately to deliver closing arguments in the case by reviewing trial transcripts and watching the case proceed on television, reports the Associated Press.

"Everybody understands that the real trial that I'm enmeshed in, that I'm involved in, that I'm embroiled in, comes first, but this comes as a good time to everybody," Cutler tells CBS News. "I'm able to do this and still able to come back to court and fight the fight."

Cutler's “unorthodox” trial break could create problems, if the case doesn't go well for the defense, says Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola University Law School in Los Angeles.

“The ethical question is, ‘Can he still reach the level of competence needed to represent a client on a murder charge?' ” Levenson tells AP. “If he’s super lawyer and he can do it, he won’t be violating ethics, but he certainly will raise some eyebrows.”

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