WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY? The Michael Jordan of forensic science, Dr. Michael Baden, finally took the stand as the defense’s likely last witness. The first two hours of Baden’s testimony revolved around his long and prestigious career: over 20,000 autopsies performed; investigations into the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and John Belushi; consulting for O.J. Simpson’s dream team; a stint on HBO’s Autopsy. Baden is also, conveniently enough, the husband of Phil Spector defense lawyer Linda Kenney-Baden. Baden confirmed that Lana Clarkson died of an intra-oral gunshot wound, and that only one of the dozens of such fatal wounds he’s inspected was the result of a homicide. Baden shocked the prosecution when he testified that Clarkson’s spine was not completely severed by the bullet, allowing her to spit blood after the gunshot, and essentially making it possible for Spector to get blood on his white jacket if he approached Clarkson after she, according to the defense, shot herself. However, the prosecution was not properly informed of Baden’s recent revelation, leading the judge to declare that the defense violated the rules of discovery, thus rendering Baden’s testimony inadmissible. Baden is expected to continue his turn on the stand tomorrow.
IS THIS GOOD OR BAD FOR SPECTOR? Bad, on so many levels. Just when the defense finally introduced testimony that could get Spector off the hook, they invalidated it by trying to sneak it by an uninformed prosecution. The fact that Baden has been paid $80,000 thus far for his work on the Spector trial likely rubbed the jury the wrong way, and even though Baden’s wife wasn’t in court due to illness, his appearance on the stand has an aura of “mess this up and you’re sleeping on the couch” to it.
MEANWHILE, OUTSIDE OF COURT: If all else fails, Spector will be happy to know that Dr. Henry Lee, the defense’s original star witness, has returned from his trip from China. Lee has come under fire in the stolen-evidence scandal, but desperate times might call for desperate measures.