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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
Spector jury begins deliberations
Phil Spector
Mr Spector has worked with some of music's biggest names
The jury in the trial of music producer Phil Spector has begun its deliberations as the five-month case nears its conclusion.

The 67-year-old hit maker denies shooting B-movie actress Lana Clarkson in the mouth at his Los Angeles home after a night out in February 2003.

His lawyers have argued that it was a case of suicide rather than murder.

Mr Spector, famous for his "Wall of Sound" recordings, could face between 15 years and life in prison if guilty.

The jury of nine men and three women retired to deliberate the charge of second-degree murder after Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler gave them final legal instructions.

They went home for the night after failing to reach a verdict and will resume their deliberations on Tuesday.

The judge also took part in a heated exchange with Spector's wife over a television interview she gave about the case.

Judge Fidler ordered Rachelle Spector not to speak to the press after he said she had sent e-mails to reporters over the weekend about the TV interview.

"Ma'am, I'm going to do something I've never done before," Judge Fidler said.

"You will not talk to the press... until a verdict or other decision is arrived at in this case. If you do, you're in violation of my order and you know what I do to people who violate my orders."

The two sides in the trial closed their cases on Friday.

The prosecution, speaking last, offered a dramatic animated video purporting to recreate the shooting, showing Mr Spector within inches of Ms Clarkson's mouth.

Lana Clarkson
Lana Clarkson appeared in cult 1980s film Barbarian Queen
"These are not evidence," prosecutor Pat Dixon said of the animations. "They are our view of what happened."

Mr Spector's lawyer closed her case by asking jurors not to become "vigilantes", appealing to them not to judge the star on his appearance or by stories of women who dated him.

"It's real easy to convict someone if you don't like them very much," lawyer Linda Kenney-Baden warned jurors.

"You're not the media. You are the search for the truth. Ask yourself - have they really proved their case or just attacked what we brought to you?"

Ms Clarkson, 40, had been working as a hostess at the House of Blues venue in Los Angeles, and went home with Mr Spector on the night of her death.

Her acting career had hit the rocks after appearing in cult 1980s films such as Barbarian Queen and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Hit records

Mr Spector has worked with some of the biggest names in the pop and rock business, including The Beatles and Ike and Tina Turner.

He has produced hits including You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' by the Righteous Brothers and the Ronettes' Be My Baby.

Mr Spector's trial is the most high-profile in the US since former American football player OJ Simpson was accused of murdering his wife and her friend in 1995.

But while the trial has received extensive coverage on Court TV, it has largely been ignored by network television in the US.

By contrast, Mr Simpson's televised trial - in which he was eventually cleared - captivated public interest in the US and around the world.


PHIL SPECTOR MURDER TRIAL

Phil Spector Hung jury
Why the jury failed to reach a verdict in Phil Spector's murder trial

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