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Court won't hear Spector lawyer's appeal

July 12, 2007 at 11:17 AM

LOS ANGELES, July 12 (UPI) -- The California Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a contempt order by one of Phil Spector's former attorneys who has refused to testify in his trial.

The refusal raised the possibility that Sara Caplan could be jailed if she still refuses to testify at Spector's trial in the death of Lana Clarkson, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Caplan was held in contempt last month for declining to testify before the jury about possible removal of evidence by Spector's forensic expert, Henry Lee.

In a May hearing outside of the jury's presence, Caplan said she saw Lee pick up a fingernail-sized object from the foyer in the music producer's home, where Clarkson's body was found. Prosecutors said they believe the item was a piece of Clarkson's acrylic thumbnail. They said the object could have shown that the woman was holding her hands defensively and could not have fired the shot that killed her.

Spector's attorneys say Clarkson shot herself.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler, citing Caplan's testimony, ruled Lee improperly withheld evidence and Caplan could be called as a witness. Caplan said testifying before the jury would betray her former client.

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