The prosecution in Phil Spector's murder trial scored an early victory on Monday, when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler cleared the way for four women — all of whom claim the record producer threatened them with gun violence — to take the witness stand in the music legend's upcoming murder trial.
Each of the four women claim that, while out on dates with the producer, Spector waved or pointed guns at them, according to The Associated Press. Spector is charged in the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson; he was arrested 10 months after her body was discovered at his Alhambra, California, mansion (see "Producer Phil Spector Charged With Murder").
The four alleged incidents occurred between 1988 and 1995 (see "Phil Spector Told Police He Shot Actress By 'Accident,' According To Transcripts"); Fidler refused to allow six other alleged incidents to be introduced.
Prior to making the ruling, Judge Fidler acknowledged that allowing such evidence was "a dangerous path to go down," but agreed with Deputy District Attorney Doug Sortino's argument that the incidents seemed to demonstrate Spector's recurrent use of guns to threaten or intimidate people, reports the AP.
Outside the courthouse, Spector — who pleaded not guilty to the charge and is currently free on $1 million bail — maintained his innocence, and insisted he "never pulled a gun on these women."
Spector's defense attorney Bruce Cutler dismissed the allegations as contrived, calling the women celebrity-chasing "acolytes and gold diggers" out for publicity, the AP said.
Fidler would not permit evidence from two cases, dating back to the 1970s, which led to criminal charges against Spector. The producer pleaded guilty in 1972 to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a loaded firearm in a public place, and received a one year probationary sentence. Three years later, he entered a guilty plea on a misdemeanor count of brandishing a firearm, and was handed two years probation.