Spector judge tentatively OKs questioning of 'diary'
Jun 01,2007 00:00 by Matt Krasnowski

LOS ANGELES - The Phil Spector trial judge said on Thursday that he would likely allow the acclaimed producer's lawyers to question a coroner about a "diary" kept by Lana Clarkson, in which she wrote about talking to dead people, including an unsuccessful actress who killed herself with a gun.

"I'm leaning toward letting it in," Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler told lawyers shortly after Deputy Medical Examiner Louis Pena finished his third day of testimony. The judge said he would issue his final ruling after he read the entire Clarkson account, which was found stored in her computer.

The dispute came in the midst of an extensive cross-examination of Pena, who concluded that Clarkson's death was homicide, undermining Spector's defense contention that she shot herself at his mansion. The defense wants to challenge Pena's finding by confronting the coroner with information showing that Clarkson may have suffered from depression and had suicidal thoughts.

Spector, 67, is charged with murder in the Feb. 3, 2003 death of Clarkson, 40, an actress who appeared in several television shows and movies, and starred in low-budget adventure movies.

Outside the presence of jurors, defense lawyer Christopher Plourd pushed for allowing jurors to hear about Clarkson's "diary," noting she wrote about problems with drugs and alcohol, her familiarity with guns and "delusions."

"She's seeing people who are who are deceased and talks to them," Plourd said.

He noted that she wrote about having visions of an actress "who didn't make it and killed herself with a gun."

The lawyer said that defense investigators looked into Clarkson's writing and found that the actress Clarkson mentioned, who was not named in court, committed suicide.

Prosecutors, who said Clarkson's writing was called "The Story of My Life," objected to letting jurors see the writings, arguing it might be fictional.