Music producer Phil Spector has hit out at the Los Angeles County coroner's office for giving in to political pressure by claiming the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in his mansion was a homicide.

Spector claims the coroner has been pressurised to rule that Clarkson's death was murder - despite forensic evidence showing the actress may have fired the gun herself.

Speaking outside a hearing for the murder case against him on Friday (7MAY04), Spector refuses to believe the coroner has been objective.

He emphasises, "He's not. He works for the sheriff."

The hearing came a day after Spector's attorneys released the coroner's report which found that Clarkson had gunshot residue on both hands and the gun was inside her mouth. Her blood was found on the gun and inside the barrel.

Spector also claims sheriff's deputies roughed him up when he was arrested on 3 February 2003.

He says he suffered a broken nose and two black eyes and that deputies used an electric stun gun on him.

The music mogul also claims county prosecutors cut a deal with ADRIANO DESOUZA - the chauffeur who told officials he heard Spector say he may have killed Clarkson - to intercede in his deportation hearing in exchange for his testimony.

09/05/2004 10:26