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Spector murder trial: Daughter describes Spector as 'doting'

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Editor's Note: As part of's new Crime section, we are archiving some of the most interesting content from This story was first published in 2007.

(Court TV) -- Her testimony lasted just two minutes, but the woman likely to be the final witness for Phil Spector's defense presented jurors Wednesday with a side of the music legend unheard of in the previous four months of his murder trial -- that of a responsible, devoted father.

Nicole Spector, the producer's only living biological child, was called to testify to a minor point -- that her father is right-handed. But the defense capitalized on her brief appearance at Spector's trial to combat a parade of prosecution witnesses who have portrayed the defendant as deeply eccentric at best, and at worst, a misogynist who enjoys threatening women with guns when he is drunk.

His daughter, 24, described Spector as a doting, involved father and their relationship as wholesome as a family sitcom. Her comments arose from a series of questions a defense attorney asked, which were ostensibly to establish that she knew her father well enough to testify about his dominant hand.

The defense contends his right-handedness makes it unlikely that he shot actress Lana Clarkson because her blood was found primarily on the left side of his jacket.

Dressed in a navy suit and blue suede pumps, Nicole Spector told jurors that she lived in her father's house until she was 8 years old. They maintained a close relationship after she and her mother, former personal assistant Janice Savala, moved out.

She said Spector picked her up every day from high school and delivered her to her mother's house, where the three dined together.

"My mother would cook and we would eat dinner and we'd watch 'All in The Family,'" she said with a smile.

Prosecutors objected repeatedly to her testimony as irrelevant.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler, however, allowed the questions, saying jurors could hear the basis for her testimony about his right-handedness.

"Did he eat with his right hand?" asked defense attorney Linda Kenney-Baden.

"Yes," Nicole Spector replied.

"Are his guitars right-handed?" the lawyer continued.

"Yes," she answered.

When Kenney-Baden asked Spector if her father played the piano with his right hand, she hesitated.

"I have never seen him play the piano, so no," she replied.

She was not asked to elaborate.

Jurors appeared intrigued by her turn in the witness chair, watching her closely and meeting her gaze. Throughout her testimony, she remained composed, occasionally smiling at the panelists or Kenney-Baden. She attended a few days of the trial shortly after it began, but did not return until she was called as a witness.

Spector watched her testimony intently, but without expression. She is Spector's only living biological child. He adopted three sons, from whom he is now estranged. A fourth son, Nicole's twin brother, died of cancer when he was 9 years old.

Spector, 67, faces 15 years to life in prison for murder if convicted of Lana Clarkson's death in his home.

Lawyers for Spector are leaving open the possibility that they will call additional witnesses, including Dr. Henry Lee and a prosecution investigator, and they will not formally rest their case until next week, when the jury tours the defendant's mansion.

Prosecutors began a rebuttal case Wednesday afternoon. Clarkson's agent, Nick Terzian, who represented the actress for 11 years until her death, contradicted several defense witnesses, many of whom were friends of Clarkson, who said she was convinced her acting career was over.

Asked how he would describe her prospects as an actress, Terzian replied, "Extremely, extremely marketable and viable. A money-maker."

He said she had worked consistently in movies, television shows, theater and commercials in the time he had known her.

"Lana was a beautiful, outgoing, talented comedic actress," he said. "If you can do comedy in this industry and be beautiful, you are going to work."

He called the testimony of a friend who said Clarkson believed she was losing roles to young starlets, like Paris Hilton, "false."

"A 40-year-old actress is going to compete against 40-year-old actresses," he said. "Lana was never competing against women in their 20s."

Terzian's testimony is to continue Thursday morning. Prosecutors provided the defense with a list of 13 rebuttal witnesses, but near the end of the day, Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson indicated he planned to eliminate some of his rebuttal witnesses.

"The jury's largely done with this case, I think," Jackson said, gesturing to the empty jury box. Moments earlier, several panelists had been struggling to stay awake for the testimony of a paramedic who treated Clarkson for broken wrists in 2001.

Among those still expected to testify for the prosecution is director Michael Bay, who will dispute a defense witness's claim that he spurned Clarkson at a party a few weeks before her death. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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