A separate court hearing in the Phil Spector trial began yesterday, to determine what became of a possibly crucial piece of evidence gone missing from the investigation: a fingernail. Some background: In 2004, prosecutors filed a motion claiming the defense had discovered a fingernail blackened by gun powder residue at the crime scene. A clerk on Spector's original team led by Robert Shapiro claimed under oath that the evidence did exist, but it was a tooth, not a nail. Today, another one of Spector's former attorneys corroborated the nail story:
The testimony from Sara Caplan, a former defense lawyer, comes one day after a former law clerk on Spector's defense team, Greg Diamond, came forward to claim that Spector's lawyers had found evidence that was never turned over to prosecutors.
[U]nder cross examination by a prosecutor, [Caplan] acknowledged spotting an object the size of a finger nail, which she says was collected by famed forensic scientist Henry Lee and placed into a plastic vial.
Having already adopted its own defense catchphrase, and now entertaining claims of crime scene tampering, the Spector proceedings have already taken on the air of a certain other celebrity murder trial still managing to snag headlines. And if the somewhat less-than-electrifying testimony about charred fingernails doesn't exactly qualify it for the title of Trial of the Century, it almost certainly earns it bragging rights to Nutjob Rock Producer Murder Trial of the Month.
- Former Spector lawyer says found evidence at scene [Reuters]
- Tooth or nail? [LAT]