An enraged Phil Spector was thrown out of two parties after unleashing obscenity-strewn tirades against women in which he talked about shooting them in the head, the music producer's murder trial heard yesterday.
Vincent Tannazzo, a former bodyguard for Joan Rivers, the comedian, testified how in the mid-1990s he was called to intervene at two Christmas parties when Spector became angry and started ranting that women "deserve to die".
The jury was allowed to hear the evidence after the judge in the case reversed a pre-trial ruling that had previously barred the testimony.
Larry Paul Fidler said he changed his mind after deciding that statements attributed to Spector were relevant because, despite being up to 14 years old, they so clearly echoed the crime he is accused of.
Spector is charged with murdering Lana Clarkson, 40, a struggling B movie actress and nightclub hostess, who died at his home from a single gunshot wound to the face in February 2003. The defence contends Miss Clarkson shot herself.
Mr Fidler said Mr Tannazzo's account indicated "the depth of Mr Spector's anger" and demonstrated an attitude of "this is they way I will solve the problem - they should be shot in the head" when angered by women.
"And in this case, you have a woman who was shot in the head. It is extremely probative," the judge said.
During his testimony, Mr Tannazzo, a retired New York Police Department detective turned private security guard, said at the first party where he intervened he received a call from Dorothy Melvin, Spector's then girlfriend and Ms Rivers' manager.
She said to him "Vinnie, get up here. Phil Spector just pulled out a gun," the security guard told the court.
Mr Tannazzo, who also worked as security detail for presidents Nixon, Carter and Reagan, went up to Ms Rivers' Manhattan apartment where he found Spector arguing with Miss Melvin. Escorting Spector from the building he frisked him and discovered a handgun in his waistband.
In the lobby, Spector "made a move for the area of his waistband" where the gun was and Mr Tannazzo, who was also armed, warned the producer that if he pulled out the gun he would "blow his brains out".
Spector responded by saying, "I'm cool, I love police officers", the witness said.
Once outside, the security officer sat with him in his limousine while his driver went to retrieve Spector's keyboard from the party. Spector produced what he said was a badge showing he was a sheriff from North Carolina and then took a permit for the gun from his pocket.
"That's why I have permits all over the place," Spector said, Mr Tannazzo testified. "That's why I always have a piece on me. That's why I have these permits, that's why I carry a piece, these f****** c****, they all deserve a bullet in their f****** heads."
The following year Mr Tannazzo was again working at Ms Rivers' Christmas Day party when he intervened in another argument between Spector and Miss Melvin.
The producer was angry, the witness said, and repeating the phrase "that f****** c***", an apparent reference to Miss Melvin.
Mr Tannazzo said he "got in between Dorothy and Phil and started to move him towards the front door of the lobby".
At that moment an unidentified woman stepped out of a lift and Spector said, "That f****** c***, that f****** c***, I ought to put a bullet in her f****** head right now," Mr Tannazzo testified.
The producer took a step towards the woman at which point the security guard grabbed him by the lapels and took him out of the building and put him into his car, he told the court.
He said on the second occasion he did not search Spector and therefore did not know if he was carrying a gun at the time.
The prosecution argued that Mr Tannazzo's testimony be allowed to demonstrate that Spector had a misogynist attitude towards women.
The defence argued the testimony was a "character assassination" and should be excluded.
Wearing a new brown wig and blue shirt and tie, Spector, 67, sat silently throughout the profanity-laden testimony, his hands shaking slightly.
He faces 15 years to life in jail if convicted. The trial continues.
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