Opening arguments to begin in Phil Spector murder trial

Michelle Caruso
New York Daily News (MCT)

Phil Spector

LOS ANGELES - Seven of the 12 jurors who will decide rock mogul Phil Spector's fate on a murder rap say they followed celebrity cases that ended in "not guilty" verdicts, including those of O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake and Michael Jackson.

As the record producer's trial for the slaying of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson begins Wednesday, prosecutors want to break the streak of celebrity acquittals, while the defense hopes to ride the wave.

The jury of nine men and three women ranges in age from 32 to 60 and includes a "Dateline NBC" producer, a marketer for New Line Cinema, a civil engineer and several mechanics and county employees.

Opening statements are slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. PDT. The trial will be broadcast on Court TV. Spector, 66, has pleaded not guilty.

Judge Larry Paul Fidler is the first California jurist to allow a TV camera in a celebrity criminal trial since Judge Lance Ito, who presided at Simpson's circus-like 1995 double-murder case.

Fidler warned he'll pull the plug at the first sign of antics by media members, lawyers or the defendant. During jury selection, which began April 16, Spector appeared subdued and sometimes timid, sporting a bowl-cut-style blond wig with an air of boyish innocence.

But prosecutors Alan Jackson and Patrick Dixon contend Spector is a sadistic killer with a long history of threatening women with guns. They say he jammed a revolver in Clarkson's mouth and pulled the trigger when she tried to leave his Alhambra, Calif., mansion in the early morning hours of Feb. 3, 2003.

Spector's defense lawyers Bruce Cutler and Roger Rosen say the 41-year-old Clarkson, star of "Barbarian Queen," was a depressed, broke, pill-popping, washed-up actress who shot herself - either accidentally or as a way out of her dead-end life.

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.