Spector Judge To Withdraw Instruction; Move Seen Inviting Appeal

Jury deliberations in Phil Spector's murder trial remain suspended as the judge struggles to help the deadlocked panel reach a verdict.

With jurors split 7-5, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler is listening to detailed legal arguments by lawyers over how to give the panel a new instruction after he withdraws a special legal instruction that some panelists cited as a point of dispute when they announced the impasse.

The instruction concerns the prosecution's theory that Spector held a gun to actress Lana Clarkson's mouth, and that the weapon discharged, causing her death.

It says jurors must find Spector committed that act in order to convict him of second-degree murder.

Fidler said yesterday he reread the instruction and decided it should not have been given because it misstated the law.

Some legal experts say the change could make a conviction easily reversible on appeal.


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