Defense attorney Bruce Cutler calls in sick and jokes, "I think it's the kryptonite"

By Caris Davis
Updated May 01, 2007 08:00 AM

Jurors in the murder trial of music producer Phil Spector got the day off Monday after his lead defense attorney Bruce Cutler called in sick.

The nine-man, three-woman jury, along with the prosecution and defense, were already in court when Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said, “Mr. Cutler had to go the doctor today. We’re hoping it’s very minor but … we will not be able to proceed today.”

No further details about the attorney’s condition were announced. Cutler, best known for representing convicted New York mobster John Gotti, joked to Reuters, “I think it’s the kryptonite” – the substance that weakens Superman.

Tuesday was also to be a day off in the case, due to immigration-reform rallies that are expected to close down much of downtown Los Angeles.

The week-old Spector trial is now set to resume on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The music legend, 67, is charged with fatally shooting B-movie actress Lana Clarkson, 40, shortly before 5 a.m. on February 3, 2003.

Fidler also said Monday that he would delay ruling on a request by defense attorneys to permit jurors to tour Spector’s hilltop suburban L.A. mansion, where Clarkson was shot to death in the foyer.

A motion by prosecutors to bar three defense witnesses from the case has also not been ruled upon, the prosecution says, because Spector’s attorneys had failed to meet the deadline on providing discovery materials about them.

So far, only one witness has been heard in the trial: a former girlfriend of Spector’s. She said on the stand that, after a night of heavy drinking in July 1993, he had threatened her with a snub-nosed revolver and a shotgun.