Saturday, May 21, 2011

Phil Spector's lawyers seek rehearing of appeal

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

(05-18) 16:15 PDT LOS ANGELES, (AP) --

Lawyers for music producer Phil Spector have asked an appeals court to take a second look at his arguments for a new trial.

In a petition to the California 2nd District Court of Appeal, the attorneys said the court's rejection of Spector's murder conviction appeal has left the legal community incredulous.

They suggested the court failed to consider the defense claim that the trial judge violated his neutrality in the case by allowing the prosecution to show a videotape of himself in closing arguments.

Spector was convicted two years ago of shooting actress Lana Clarkson to death at his Alhambra mansion in 2003. He's serving 19 years to life in prison on a second-degree murder conviction.

His first trial ended in a hung jury; the second ended in a conviction.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Conversation With Detective Mark Lillenfeld - LA County Sheriff's Department

I advise ML that I know Phil Spector and intend to write a book, that will include information about an ex-partner of mine in LA (music industry); and that I intend to present the facts rather than argue my personal belief that Phillip is innocent. I inform him that I want to present a fair and well balanced overview and not the limited view permitted by the trial court.

Mark Lillenfeld:

I'm not the primary guy. There were 10 detectives helping the lead detective. The lead detective is Rich Tomlin. He was the top dog. I was in charge of the scene investigation and played a minor role. Rich Tomlin's number is 323-890-5630. He's a good guy.

KL: Why did the Sheriff's Department handle this investigation? [We discuss the fact that this can give the appearance of a conflict of interest …]

ML: Good question. The Sheriff's Department is the chief law enforcement agency in California under the Constitution. We are mandated to provide other smaller municipalities (with less financial resources) with assistance - such as investigations; bomb squads; SWAT. For almost 100 years, the Sheriff has provided homicide investigations for smaller police departments. We have a lot of expertise as well. We provide that service for many other municipalities - Alhambra, Menlo Park, Sierra Madre, etc.

KL: Are guns normally left at the scene of suicides for the investigators - and not left at the scene of homicides? This makes no sense to me. I explain that I've seen references to this repeatedly on the internet; possibly testimony at the trial; etc.

ML: In any type of death investigation - whether criminal (murder) or non-criminal death, the physical evidence would be reviewed; memorialized by photographs; etc.

KL: Was your mind made up, initially, as to whether this was a homicide vs. suicide?

ML: No. Not at all. When we roll up to a death scene - more often than not ... the information we got from the uniform cops at Alhambra ... is like the game of Telephone. Did you play that when you were young? [Gives me an example - Richard Nixon was a communist ... by the end of whisper down the lane it becomes ... Jane Fonda is a ballerina]. No pre-conceived idea that it was a murder.

We discuss the fact that I know Phillip; have a very good understanding of who he is; and was present for one incident presented at trial – the Carlyle - and know it was fabricated.

KL: I ask ML if the Sheriff's Department basically believes that all of PS's experts testified inaccurately, lied, etc.

ML: The rule of court governing expert witnesses - In California, everything is codified ... and then delineate what is or is not admissible. The Spector case became a battle of the experts. Clearly Mr. Spector's experts were cross-examined well and made [to appear] disingenuous. Since that time, it has been proven the case - [mentions Baden and Lee ... I suggest that we disregard these experts since there are myriad problems here from many many perspectives ... ML asks who I have in mind and I say Dr. Spitz] ... Dr. Spitz is a brilliant guy. He is well respected in his field. There is a minor criminal charge against him in the mid-West. He's well respected. [I note that accusing expert witnesses has become a problem and mention that Jules Zalon, a lawyer I know, raised this as a particularly discerning problem these days. I also note that this could happen to ML]. As far as his testimony in the Spector matter - it seemed kind of disingenuous. Our pathologist, Dr. Pena ...

At this point, I note that there is an Internal Memo at the DA's office (generated with respect to Killer King) essentially stating that Pena is willing to lie for his job/boss; possibly alter documents; and his credibility was seriously called into question. ML is "not familiar" with this memo.

ML: On a professional level, Dr. Pena ... he has been very ethical and bright. I have never had a problem with the guy.

KL: Dr. Pena stated, on the stand, that he could not conclude whether this was a suicide or homicide ... I ask ML for his personal opinion.

ML: I would say that this is a criminal homicide. In my own professional opinion, it is a criminal death. (mentions that this is his area of expertise - homicide).

KL: A lot of people believe Phillip was set up.

ML: [He is aware of this and states that] ... I'm from the mid-West. I'm open minded. I believe in the Constitution. [Notes that weird things happen in LA].

KL: Are Alan Jackson and Pat Dixon professional?

ML: [He believes they are professional ..., "I do"] ... They are human. AJ - I like him personally and professionally. If I was murdered I would want him handling the prosecution. I wouldn't want him dating my sister. [Believes he's ethical, bright, articulate.]

KL: Is Pat Dixon professional?

ML: He is a very bright guy. Seasoned. 35 years. He is professional. He has some quirks that not everyone loves. He's good at what he does ... [I believe ML said he was "beholden" to him but not sure I understand that].

ML and I discuss the Goodwin case for a moment. I note that after reading a bit about it, it is too complicated at first glance and will confuse issues I want to address in my book. I note that, somehow, the case seems dangerous - hit men and all. We discuss the fact that I worked in the music industry and understand artists, the amount of drugs, etc., in LA; my friend who died of drugs/alcohol; Eric's niece who shot herself in the head; etc. ML mentions the tv show "Entourage" and we do discuss excess in LA.

That's basically the end of the conversation. Mark Lillenfeld was professional; forthcoming; seemed entirely genuine; and believes Philip is guilty.

I left a message for Detective Tomlin (323-890-5630) and let him know that I would like to go back and review his testimony before speaking.

NOTE: At some point, ML asks if I was a witness in the PS matter. I explain that, while I was told I was probably a witness, I fought this because I have absolutely nothing to add to the mix … Phillip told me what happened (this is what the experts concluded) and there was no point in my taking the stand to say I liked Phillip. That’s my personal opinion and I cannot address personally what happened at Phillip’s house that night – apart from repeating what Phillip personally told me occurred. ML agreed – there was no point in my taking the stand. I advised him that I have spoken with Brian Bennett and Bill Frayeh – who I ultimately found to be entirely professional although for quite a while we were in adversarial positions.