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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 February 2007, 15:29 GMT
US Spector trial to be televised
Phil Spector
The jury is due to be selected in the much-delayed trial on 19 March
Full TV coverage of the US murder trial of music producer Phil Spector will be allowed, a Superior Court judge says.

Judge Larry Paul Fidler claimed it was time to overcome a "fear of cameras" in Los Angeles courts, prevalent since OJ Simpson's murder acquittal in 1995.

But he warned he would "pull the plug" if the media acted irresponsibly.

Spector, the 67-year-old known for his "Wall of Sound" production technique, is accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson in his home in 2003.

He is alleged to have shot her in the foyer of his mock castle in the Californian city - but he claims Clarkson, who was 40, committed suicide.

His lawyers were against the idea of cameras in the court, claiming they could cause witnesses to act differently and might make jurors self-conscious in their role.

But Judge Fidler said public scrutiny was "a good thing" and the televised trial should put an end to any beliefs that celebrities were treated differently in court.

Acquittal

The apparent reluctance by judges to televise hearings dates back to the acquittal of former football star OJ Simpson.

Judge Larry Paul Fidler
Judge Fidler said he would scrap TV coverage if it was handled badly
He was cleared of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman after the so-called "trial of the century".

The case was broadcast live in the United States but the verdict led to some condemnation of the Los Angeles legal system and of Judge Lance Ito, who has largely avoided the media ever since.

Other judges in the city have subsequently rejected bids by the media to televise trials of great interest.

The jury in the Spector trial - which was supposed to begin in September 2005 but has been put back on several occasions - is due to be selected on 19 March, but this process will not be broadcast.

Spector is currently free on $1 million (513,000) bail.


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