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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Scott Raab

Aired June 4, 2003 - 20:52   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Reclusive and legendary music producer Phil Spector has broken his public silence about the shooting death of a woman at his mansion last February. He says he didn't do it. In the coming issue of "Esquire" magazine, Spector says the death of 40-year-old actress and nightclub hostess Lana Clarkson was a suicide. He was arrested, but has not been charged or cleared, and he talked to "Esquire's" Scott Raab, who joins me now.
Scott, thanks for being with us.

SCOTT RAAB, ESQUIRE MAGAZINE: Thank you.

COOPER: It's a fascinating article that comes out. He explicitly denied that he killed Lana Clarkson. What did he tell you happened?

RAAB: They met at the House of Blues where she was working as hostess. They have never met before. She was loud, according to Philip, she was drunk, she wanted a ride home. Then she wanted to see the castle. He lives in a pretty impressive home. They went inside. She stayed in the foyer. He went somewhere. Didn't say where. Heard a gunshot, came back and she was lying in a pool of blood.

COOPER: Want to read the audience this quote. "She kissed the gun. I had no idea why. Never knew her. Never even saw her before that night. It's anatomy of a frameup. I have no idea who she was or what her agenda was. There is no case. She killed herself." Does he think he was framed?

RAAB: I think he's worried that given the fact that this happened in February, no charges have been brought but he has not been cleared, what are the police doing, what is the L.A. County Sheriff's Department doing meanwhile? They have a corpse. They say they have the weapon that fired the shot. According to my conversation with Lieutenant Danny Rosenberg (ph), they did gunshot residue tests. Where are they? What's going to happen?

COOPER: You said he mentioned the House of Blues. There are reports he was drinking that night. What did he tell you about it?

RAAB: He denies that he was drunk that night. He absolutely flatly denies it. I know it conflicts with some reports that came out, but that's Phil Spector's version.

COOPER: Now, did he tell the police after he was arrested that she killed herself? RAAB: According to Philip, according to Lieutenant Rosenberg (ph), he said nothing. He was tazered immediately afterwards, and it was 5:00 in the morning. And whether or not he was drunk, I don't know. But apparently he made no statement whatsoever to the police.

COOPER: You've talked to him I think on a couple of occasions before this interview, trying to get it going. Did you notice a change in him now? He's always described as reclusive, eccentric.

RAAB: He's actually a very friendly guy, a brilliant man with a nice, funny, kind of a Jewish uncle from the Bronx. I mean, he's a 62-year-old guy with a repository of 1,000 great stories about The Beatles and everyone else. Yes, I think he's a fragile guy, he's a frightened guy. I think that accounts to a large degree for his reclusiveness. But I think now in particular he's terrified. In addition to everything else one can say about Phil Spector, he's in a horribly vulnerable position right now.

COOPER: Do you believe him?

RAAB: I think the skeptic in me, the journalist in me tends to doubt what sounds like a fairy tale version of the story. I think the human being in me, the guy who really does like Phil Spector a lot, hopes that it's congruent with some version of the facts.

COOPER: Fascinating. It's, as I said, a great article. Scott Raab, "Esquire" contributing editor. Thanks. We've got the magazine right there, hitting the stands, and the article is in there.

RAAB: Thank you very much for having me.

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