Doron Weinberg Returns -- Again -- To Close Phil Spector's Defense

Well, it didn't take long for that AP logo to get pulled off the podium mike that Doron Weinberg's been using. Possibly fearing that the podium could soon resemble a NASCAR pace car plastered with corporate logos, Alan Parachini, the chief public information officer for the Superior Courts, had the video cameraman remove the fire-red icon from the mike when Weinberg was momentarily pausing in his closing argument on behalf of Phil Spector.

While Alan was at it, he might have started charging Weinberg rent for all the time he's been at the podium. After getting Judge Larry Paul Fidler to dismiss court for the second half of Monday, following co-prosecutor Truc Do's compact statement, Weinberg took all of Tuesday and now, seemingly, all of Wednesday to complete his closing.

He began this morning by disparaging the testimony -- and impugning the motives -- of the various women who testified they'd had nightmare dates with Spector that ended with him becoming violently drunk and brandishing guns at them and/or forcing them to remain with him the night.

Onetime Joan Rivers manager Dorothy Melvin, Weinberg claimed, had come forward with her own story out of "continuing anger over disappointment with her relationship with Phillip."

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And like Spector lawyers from the music producter's first trial, Weinberg pointed out inconsistencies in the women's statements or, simply, enumerated the times in their lives they'd been caught perjuring themselves. The most obvious latter case was Melissa Grosvenor, who been busted for bank embezzlement and later, lying about it on a job application. The problem with this strategy is that it can make jurors think back, sympathetically, to all the times they may have uttered white lies, or even not so white ones. Does lying on a job application mean one can't be trusted to ever tell the truth again?

It's a question that may have run through jurors' minds later in Weinberg's argument, when he turned his attention to Adriano De Souza, Spector's hired driver on the night of February 3, 2003, when Lana Clarkson died from a gunshot wound to her mouth inside Spector's home. Weinberg has, throughout this trial, hammered the Brazilian national's recollection of the tragic night when, De Souza claims, he heard a gunshot, then saw Spector emerge from his mansion to announce, "I think I killed somebody."

Weinberg, unlike his ham-fisted predecessors in the first trial, has approached De Souza sensitively, but has still zeroed in on three things: the driver's command of English, his second language; his ability to have accurately understood Spector, given that De Souza had not slept in 22 hours, along with Spector's drunken syntax and the background noise of a nearby outdoor fountain.

Weinberg today also strongly implied that De Souza, who was living here on an expired visa, was more than eager to tell his cop interrogators what he believed they wanted to hear about his boss. For example, Weinberg showed a photographic blowup of a page of an interview in which a detective discloses to De Souza that Spector had may have worn a white or cream jacket the night of Clarkson's shooting - a statement DeSouza then agrees with, even though he'd previously told police Spector had worn all black that night.

Finally, though, Weinberg - sensitively, to be sure - reminded jurors that for four years De Souza had misstated on his applications for visa renewals that he was a student and not holding employment here.

In other words, Weinberg said, De Souza had lied four times.

The jurors seem to be attentive: brows are knit and chins get stroked during Weinberg's argument, but there's no telling on how much he's influencing them. He'll soon return, after the lunch recess, to cap his remarks. Or so we think.


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