Top CA Court: Spector Atty Must Testify
Posted Jul 11, 2007 8:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
A former lawyer for Phil Spector must testify in the music producer's ongoing murder trial, the California Supreme Court determined today.
By refusing to hear Sara Caplan's appeal of a ruling by the trial judge holding her in contempt for not testifying, the court effectively is affirming the lower court's decision (which was also upheld by an intermediate appeals court), reports the Los Angeles Times.
Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler had earlier decided to jail Caplan if she would not testify, but presumably he may now give her another chance to do so following the supreme court rejection of her appeal. The Spector trial is scheduled to resume tomorrow, and the judge may say more about the contempt issue then.
Allegedly, Caplan saw an expert collect now-missing evidence from the murder scene, at Spector's home in Los Angeles. She says she can't ethically testify, because her impressions are confidential under attorney-client privilege. But Fidler says the privilege isn't applicable to destruction of evidence--and doesn't apply in this case because Caplan waived it in previous testimony. Meanwhile, it isn't clear that the expert himself will testify, the LA Times reports.
Spector, 67, whose trial is nearing an end, is accused of shooting to death Lana Clarkson, 40, a restaurant hostess and former movie actress, in the wee hours of Feb. 3, 2003. He says she shot herself.