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Phil Spector Prosecutor Seeks to Exclude Movie Scenes
April 10, 2007

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

The judge in the Phil Spector murder trial will be making some decisions that could have a profound effect on the outcome of the case.

Victim Lana Clarkson was an actress best known for her role in the 1980s cult film "Barbarian Queen."

In her career, Clarkson had the occasion to handle guns. Now her film content has become the subject of a legal tug-of-war.

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson has asked the trial judge to disallow as evidence DVD clips of Clarkson acting in TV and movies, which show her holding a gun and which contain sexual content.

"The most obvious point, however, is that the victim is acting. She is in scenes created by others, speaking lines written by others, and conducting herself as directed by others," Jackson's motion reads. "Those characters are not Lana Clarkson any more than Sir Anthony Hopkins is Hannibal Lecter."

The prosecution is also requesting evidence be excluded that the victim might be someone who would be inclined to commit suicide. Jackson argued in moving papers that Spector's defense lawyers "will attempt to attack the character of victim Lana Clarkson by painting her as the kind of person who might kill herself."

One of the witnesses that the defense may call is a one-time friend of Clarkson known as "Punkin Pie" Laughlin, who told defense investigators that the actress said on two occasions that she wanted to kill herself and that she abused prescription drugs. Jackson also seeks to exclude a memoir found on Clarkson's computer where she wrote about using cocaine in her youth.

Laughlin would likely tell jurors that the "victim was trained to handle guns because of her movie roles, felt humiliated by her job as VIP hostess at The House of Blues, used Vicodin recreationally, and twice told Punkin Pie that she wanted to kill herself."

Another defense witness, Clarkson friend Jennifer Hayes, claims her friend was "a depressed unsuccessful actress and a horrible stand-up comic." Hayes would likely tell the jury that Clarkson was someone who couldn't handle rejection "and felt humiliated by her nightclub job."

Playwright John Barons is identified as a witness in the moving papers. Barons would likely compare Clarkson to Marilyn Monroe and say she was like other young actresses who might say, "If I don't make it by 40 I will jump off a bridge."

In addition, Barons would likely say Clarkson could have accidentally shot herself because she was "accident prone and clutzy."

In another motion, Jackson asked the judge to allow testimony that would allegedly show a "long history of gun-related violence directed at women" on the part of Spector.

One of the prosecution witnesses is Devra Robitaille, a former employee and girlfriend who claims that decades ago in two separate incidents, the record producer pointed a gun at her head.

With cameras in the courtroom, the trial has all the makings of a John Grisham movie.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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