Phil Spector's legal team has been dealt a blow in the record producer's ongoing murder trial - one of their leading witnesses has left America.
Forensics expert Henry Lee was billed as the secret scientific weapon of Spector's defense, and he was expected to testify on the producer's behalf.
But, upset by trial judge Larry Fidler's ruling that he removed evidence from the crime scene, Lee has announced he no longer believes Spector's lawyers need his testimony - and he has left the country for his native China.
The famous forensics expert, who has denied Judge Fidler's claims, says, "It's up to the defence and my schedule whether I come back to testify. But it will cost a lot for them to bring me back.
"They have so many experts. One more or one less won't make a difference. I don't think my testimony will make the case or break the case."
Lee has revealed he will be travelling through China for at least two weeks, teaching courses and giving speeches.
Earlier in the trial, Fidler ruled that Lee removed a piece of evidence - reportedly an acrylic fingernail found at Spector's mansion after the gunshot death of actress Lana Clarkson - and did not turn the item over to prosecutors. Lee insists the judge made a mistake.