LOS ANGELES - Phil Spector has narrowed his search for a new lead attorney for his second murder trial to an unidentified California lawyer, the music producer's remaining lawyer told the trial judge Monday.
Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler read two reports submitted by attorney Christopher Plourd but kept them sealed because they detail Spector's financial negotiations with a number of lawyers since his first trial ended with a jury deadlocked last month.
Negotiations are continuing, Plourd said.
"I want Mr. Spector to be comfortable with this attorney," the judge said, granting a delay until Nov. 6 for an appearance by a new lawyer. The judge said it will likely take more than 60 days after that date for a new lawyer to prepare for trial.
Spector, 67, is accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson, 40, on Feb. 3, 2003, at his mansion. Fidler declared a mistrial on Sept. 26 when jurors deadlocked 10-2, with the majority favoring conviction, following a six-month trial.
Members of Spector's previous defense team either resigned or were dismissed after the mistrial.
Spector has had trouble finding a new lead attorney who would be free to try the case in a relatively short time, Plourd said, noting that criminal defense lawyers' schedules often are filled for a year or more in advance.
"This person had something open up unexpectedly," Plourd said.
Plourd, a San Diego lawyer who participated in Spector's first trial, said he plans to stay on to handle forensic evidence. But he has two capital murder cases on his schedule before he can step back into Spector's case.
Spector was a hit-making producer decades ago with a recording technique known as the "Wall of Sound" that revolutionized rock music.
Clarkson, best known for the 1985 cult film "Barbarian Queen," was working as a hostess at a House of Blues night club when she met Spector and went home with him.
She died of a gunshot fired inside her mouth while seated in a foyer. The prosecution claimed Spector shot her; the defense said she shot herself.