Facing the music
The woman who called Lana Clarkson her best friend completed her testimony today by saying she had no memory of ever telling anyone that record producer Phil Spector should "fry" for killing the actress.
Punkin Laughlin, a club promoter also known as Punkin Pie, finished her third day on the stand in the Spector murder trial. She was the latest in a string of defense witnesses who testified that Clarkson was depressed about financial woes, her lack of career prospects and a recent failed romantic relationship.
"In your memory, do you recall telling anyone, 'We need to fry that bastard for killing Clarkson?' " Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson asked Laughlin.
"I don't remember ever saying that," she replied to several versions of the same question.
Laughlin represents a bit of a puzzle for the nine-man, three-woman jury since she gave conflicting accounts of whether Clarkson was merely depressed or was suicidal, as the defense maintains.
For example, in her testimony, Laughlin told of Clarkson being at the end of her rope, but in interviews with homicide investigators just after the death, she gave no indication that Clarkson was dangerously depressed.
In response to defense attorney Roger J. Rosen's questions, Laughlin insisted she was telling a fuller truth in her current testimony.
"It is a truth that is a little bit different than you told" homicide investigators, Jackson said.
"I had to hold back things," Laughlin said. "I didn't want to hurt people."
With the jury absent, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler ruled that Jody "Babydol" Gibson, a convicted Hollywood madam, would not be allowed to take the stand at this time because her testimony "was inadmissible and irrelevant."
Fidler said Gibson might testify later and ordered that she not talk to the media.
He sealed the defense offer of proof outlining Gibson's testimony. She was expected to say that Clarkson worked for her in the past.
Gibson served 22 months in prison for running a prostitution ring. In her memoir, "Secrets of a Hollywood Super Madam," she wrote that she sent "Alana," a tall, blond call girl, to the Bel-Air Hotel to service a Texas politician.
The woman was later found "murdered in the home of a wealthy record producer," Gibson said in the book.