Saturday, March 16, 2013

Helen Mirren: Anger as film casts doubt on Phil Spector murder verdict Email Edward Helmore in New York The Observer, Saturday 16 March 2013 09.38 EDT (THE GUARDIAN)

Victims' rights groups fear that David Mamet movie will question music producer's murder conviction

Four years ago the Wall of Sound music producer Phil Spector was convicted of murdering B-movie actress Lana Clarkson at his Los Angeles castle home. Many believe Clarkson's death was a tragedy waiting to happen – Spector was well known for terrorising women, and musicians, with guns – but the guilty verdict was a surprise in a town where celebrities with far stronger evidence against them typically walk free.

Now a new HBO-produced film to be broadcast next Sunday, Phil Spector, has sparked a row between victims' rights groups and those, like the film-makers, who believe the evidence against the producer did not rise to the threshold of "beyond reasonable doubt".

Al Pacino, who stars as Spector, has revealed that, while he was undecided about Spector's guilt, David Mamet, the movie's writer and director, was certain of his innocence. Helen Mirren stars as Linda Kenney Baden, Spector's lawyer in the first of his two trials for Clarkson's murder in 2003. He was accused of putting a gun in her mouth and shooting her dead.

Spector's wife, 32-year-old Rachelle Spector, told the Observer she believes that the film, despite leaning towards the conclusion that Spector was wrongly convicted, is a breach of client-attorney confidentiality between Spector, 73, and Kenney Baden, who was an adviser to HBO. She fears it will serve to further cement her husband's reputation as a "freak and a megalomaniac" – "a minotaur" who imprisoned people in his castle.


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