LATEST: Troubled music producer Phil Spector has been granted a court delay to give his new legal team time to prepare his defence against charges of murdering a B-movie actress.

The 64-year-old sued his former attorney ROBERT SHAPIRO - who was a member of OJ Simpson's defence team - claiming he duped him into paying $1 million (GBP555,500) to cover legal fees.

Spector replaced him with former gangster JOHN GOTTI's attorneys BRUCE CUTLER and ROGER ROSEN to defend him against the fatal shooting of girlfriend Lana Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion in Los Angeles on 3 February (03).

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge CARLOS URANGA has consequently agreed to postpone the 20 October (04) preliminary hearing until 16 December to give them time to prepare his defence, which alleges she shot herself.

District attorney spokesman SANDI GIBBONS says, "The district attorney is used to having cases like this move like a herd of turtles."

Cutler argues, "This case never should have been brought. Our aim is not only to win this case but also to win it in the court of public opinion. There was no crime committed and I'm sure he'll bring forth evidence that the district attorney has been hiding."

15/09/2004 13:17