Prosecution has new witness for Spector retrial

July 15, 2008 7:38:14 AM PDT
Phil Spector's prosecutor has found a sixth woman who wants to testify that the music producer threatened her life, according to a new motion that sets out facts similar to those alleged in the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.

The incidents, however, are separated by seven years and a defense attorney said he will oppose use of testimony by this woman and by five others who testified in Spector's murder trial last year.

Spector, famed for his "Wall of Sound" recording technique, is accused of killing Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion on Feb. 3, 2003. The defense has claimed the shooting was self-inflicted, either an accident or suicide. A jury deadlocked in 2007 and Spector is facing a retrial in September.

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson said that the new witness, Norma Kemper, was discovered in January 2008, and gave investigators an account involving the same locations which Spector visited the night of his fateful meeting with Clarkson.

His motion filed Monday said that Kemper, who was hired by Spector as his assistant in 1996, was taken to dinner by the record producer at Dan Tana's, a West Hollywood restaurant he visited the night of Clarkson's death. It said he became intoxicated, made a romantic overture to Kemper and when she rebuffed him, showed a holstered gun under his jacket and said, "You know I could kill you right now."

After dinner, the motion said, Spector took Kemper to the House of Blues, the celebrity watering hole where he met Clarkson seven years later. Kemper said she wanted to go home, a request that was ignored by Spector, and she was given a ride home by a friend.

Kemper told Spector the next day that "he would regret it if he ever harmed her," the motion said. She continued to work for Spector for the next four years, according to the motion.

"The prosecution keeps trying to get a conviction based on character evidence that has little or nothing to do with what happened on Feb. 3, 2003," said attorney Doron Weinberg, who has taken over Spector's defense case. "It's a recognition of the

weakness of their case."

Asked about the similarity in locations, he said, "Like so many other Hollywood people, he has places he goes to."

Weinberg said he would file a series of pretrial motions Tuesday including one to exclude all five women who testified about Spector's allegedly violent propensities at the first trial.