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December 01, 2008

Phil Spector's a bad boy


Does anybody really think Phil Spector is a Boy Scout? Surely not the parade of women who testified about his drunken bouts of explosive temper at his first murder trial and are queued up to spill again during the current go-round in L.A. County Superior Court.

Not even the jury, which deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting the legendary record producer last year.

Seems his new lawyer, though, is dragging him through the mud purposely to show that, well, the guy's just a whack job with self-control issues and a penchant for handguns. Do those two mix? If you believe the prosecution they do, and the result was the murder of actress Lana Clarkson at Spector's castle-like mansion in Alhambra.

Defense attorney Doron Weinberg, destined to be a case study at law schools the world over, has spent considerable time during this trial showing just what an equal-opportunity wild man Spector is -- see, he threatens both men and women!

Weinberg recently called a witness who described Spector, gun in hand, chasing some hapless fans down a New York street because they'd mistaken him for diminutive Oscar nominee Dudley Moore.

The lawyer, in trying to explain his warts-and-all strategy, said to the L.A. Times:

"The expletives and the gun-waving are like conversational exclamation points for emphasis, but not intended to do harm."

This is going to work? In Spector's favor? Watching with continued fascination.



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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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