Belmont Club

“You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling”

Just in. Music legend Phil Spector has been found guilty of murder.

A Los Angeles jury returned the verdict against Spector, 69, after a five-month retrial. Spector, 69, could spend the rest of his life behind bars after he is sentenced on May 29. The first trial ended in a jury deadlock in September 2007.

The media guy who’s been on Spector’s case more than anyone else is Dominic Dunne of Vanity Fair. Dunne is of course, the master of the celebrity inside story, as this excerpt shows.

A few years later everyone in the country was gripped by the televised O. J. Simpson double-murder trial, and Phil Spector was no exception. I was covering it for Vanity Fair and I was on TV constantly, on Larry King’s and Geraldo Rivera’s shows, talking about what had happened that day in court. As I remember it, Phil asked Ahmet to arrange a meeting so we could talk about O.J. Phil was utterly riveted by the case. He knew every detail of the story and trial. We had three dinners together. I remember him as brilliant, fascinating to talk to, and sometimes scary. It was a well-known fact at that time that he had pulled guns on people; there were many stories to that effect. I personally knew two of the women who claimed they had been held prisoner in his house for several days. He carried a gun when we saw each other, but he never pulled it on me.

On the night before I came out to Los Angeles for this trial, I was at a party in New York, where I ran into Yoko Ono. One of the most enduring stories about Phil Spector involves the time he pulled a gun on John Lennon at a recording session. I told Yoko I was leaving the next day to cover Spector’s trial. She smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, Phil,” in the most affectionate manner. I said, “What do you mean, ‘Oh, Phil’? He pulled a gun on your husband.” Yoko said, “Oh, that story has become so exaggerated. He took out the gun and shot it in the ceiling.” Oh.

Now it’s gone, gone, gone. Sad all around.

The Telegraph described the courtroom scene. What celebrity trials do is reduce an icon to a human being: to victim, monster, or wrongfully accused, as the case may be. In this case, the jury decided Spector was guilty, while off in the background another human drama was being played out.

He looked frail and yawned as he entered the courtroom to learn of his fate, wearing a black suit and a red tie with a red silk handkerchief in the pocket. He was wearing a trademark long jacket bearing a lapel badge reading “Barack Obama Rocks!” and another pin of the Stars and Stripes

The judge, Larry Fidler, warned the court before the jury returned: “I do not tolerate any outbursts from anyone. The jury’s verdict, whatever it is, will be respected.”

But there was little audible reaction in the busy courtroom – where Lana Clarkson’s mother was sitting – aside from the sound of a woman sobbing.