JLOS ANGELES (AP) _ The judge in Phil Spector's murder trial said Monday he was going ahead with contempt proceedings against one of his ex-attorneys for refusing to testify that she saw a defense expert pick up possible evidence at the scene.
The testimony could be used by the prosecution to attack the credibility of the forensic expert if he testifies. The evidence has never been provided to the prosecution.
Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said a hearing in his chambers had failed to resolve the issue, which has percolated in hearings outside the jury's presence for more than a month.
A contempt hearing was scheduled for later Monday.
The former Spector attorney, Sara Caplan, her own lawyer and Spector's current defense team have claimed attorney-client privilege on the issue, but the judge has said precedent shows the privilege does not apply on issues of destruction of evidence.
Actress Lana Clarkson was shot through the mouth in the foyer of Spector's home on Feb. 3, 2003. Spector's defense contends she shot herself.
Caplan was among members of Spector's original defense team who examined the scene the next day.
In a May 3 hearing without the jury present, Caplan took the stand to deny a claim by a law clerk that she picked up an object at the scene.
However, in a surprise, Caplan said she pointed out a white object about the size of a fingernail to criminalist Henry Lee and that he picked it up and put it in a vial. She said she did not know what the object was or what happened to it after Lee put it in the vial.
Lee later testified that he did not pick up such an item, but on May 23 the judge made a formal finding that he did.