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Phil Spector's retrial begins in L.A.

  |   Oct. 30, 2008 at 7:35 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Phil Spector's Los Angeles retrial -- on charges he fatally shot actress Lana Clarkson -- painted him as a serial abuser in opening statements.

The famed music producer's first trial ended more than a year ago with the jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of Spector's guilt.

While Spector's lawyers have argued Clarkson killed herself in Spector's home because she was depressed, prosecutors maintain Spector shot her after she rejected his romantic overtures.

Spector, 68, faces a minimum of 18 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson as telling the new jury hearing the case Wednesday Spector is a man with "a very rich history of violence" and Clarkson, 40, was "simply the last in a very long line of women who had suffered abuse at the hands of Phillip Spector over the years."

Jackson said five women have claimed Spector threatened them with guns in the three decades leading up to Clarkson's death.

However, Spector's lawyer Doron Weinberg objected to Jackson's statement, asking for a mistrial outside the presence of the jury and declaring, "I think the jury has been poisoned intentionally."

The Times said Judge Larry Paul Fidler has ruled the testimony of the women is admissible and denied Weinberg's request for a mistrial, but warned the prosecutor not to use the word "pattern" when discussing Spector's behavior.

"It's true that he has exhibited guns. It's true that he has waved guns, but he has never fired a gun at a living being," Weinberg said of Spector.

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