The Phil Spector Trial: We Watch Court TV So You Don't Have To (09/25)

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WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY? Exactly two weeks after they began deliberating in the murder trial of Phil Spector, the jury still failed to come to a unanimous verdict. There was some action in the courtroom, however. The defense filed a motion, on the heels of last week's banished "Special Instruction 3," that Judge Fidler include a new jury instruction that dictated Spector must be acquitted if the jury "thinks the defendant assisted Lana Clarkson's suicide." It was a rather odd request because the defense team hinted at a grim, bizarre situation in which Spector provided the gun to Clarkson, then verbally coaxed the drunken actress into shooting herself. But Spector's defense team wants to ensure their client does not get convicted of assisting a suicide (as well as reinforce the defense's suicide theory to the jury).

While the prosecution and defense discussed this matter in the judge's quarters, the jury bell rang twice. A quick summary of what the jury bell represents: When the bell rings once, it's time for the jury to go on a bathroom/snack/lunch break. Two times, the jury has a question, wants to see a piece of evidence or needs to speak to the judge. Three rings, the jury has come to a verdict. The last time the jury rang the bell twice was last Tuesday, when they told the judge they were deadlocked, so when the bell toll twice yesterday, nerves were on edge. The jury passed a note to a court officer who informed the court that the jury -- requested a VCR. The jury was given a DVD/VCR (to prevent future requests for a more modern video player), and deliberations continued silently throughout the remainder of the day.

IS THIS GOOD OR BAD FOR SPECTOR? Probably not good. The only VHS tape reportedly in evidence is Spector chauffeur Adriano de Souza's police interview the day after his boss told him "I think I killed somebody" the night of Clarkson's death. The fact that the jury is focusing on the most vital prosecution witness might be a bad sign for Phil. Spector's team got a boost, however, when the judge told them he'll tell the jury about the defense's "assisted suicide = acquittal" claim if the jury comes to another verdict-less standstill.

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