Lawyers for music producer Phil Spector have refuted prosecutors' claims they are hiding fingernail evidence from the body of the actress he is accused of killing.

Prosecutors had suggested a torn piece of Lana Clarkson's nail had been found at the scene of the crime in February 2003 - which defence lawyers rejected at a hearing on Friday (02JUL04).

Spector, 62, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Clarkson - who was shot dead at his Los Angeles mansion.

Earlier this year (04) prosecutors claimed a piece of Clarkson's nail found by a forensic expert had been overlooked by sheriff's investigators.

However, Superior Court Judge CARLOS URANGA said the testimony of the forensic specialist - HENRY LEE - was not needed.

The judge set a preliminary hearing for 20 October (04) to determine whether there was enough evidence to try Spector for murder - which he was charged with in November 2003.

Spector is currently free on $1 million (GBP550,000) bail.

04/07/2004 10:47