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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK
Spector judge death threat probed
Larry Fidler
Judge Larry Fidler has presided over the six-month trial
Police are probing an internet threat made against the judge in the Phil Spector murder trial.

A posting made on MySpace read "the evil judge should die!" and featured the music producer's wife Rachelle dressed in a "Team Spector" T-shirt.

The post, which has since been removed, is being investigated by a special sheriff's department unit charged with the protection of judges.

The jury is due to deliberate a verdict for the 12th day on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court spokesman Alan Parachini said the apparent threat against Judge Larry Paul Fidler "clearly met the standard for referral to the sheriff's department".

Rebuked

"I'm not going to assume that there is any relationship to the defendant, his wife or his friends. I don't know that," he added.

Lawyers for Mr Spector said that his 27-year-old wife, who he married a year ago, had nothing to do with the posting.

Investigations into threats against judges can lead to criminal prosecutions. Mr Parachini said: "More threats on judges occur than the public knows."

Rachelle Spector
Rachelle Spector has regularly supported her husband in court

Earlier in the trial, Mrs Spector was rebuked by the judge for giving a television interview and sending journalists an e-mail about it.

He later imposed a gagging order on her and others after they answered him back in court.

The jury told Judge Fidler on 18 September that they had reached a 7-5 deadlock in their deliberations.

The option of allowing jurors to consider a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter has been rebuffed on the grounds that it would tell them what to do.

Mr Spector faces between 15 years and life imprisonment if found guilty of murdering actress Lana Clarkson at his home in 2003.

He denies the charge, while defence lawyers contend that she killed herself.


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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