Spector compares prosecutor to Hitler

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Phil Spector, the music producer, compared a prosecutor to Adolf Hitler yesterday after appearing in court charged with the murder of an actress.

Spector, 63, made his outburst after pleading innocent in court to a murder charge relating to the death of the actress Lana Clarkson, who starred in a string of films including The Barbarian Queen and Amazon Women on the Moon.

He was arrested after Ms Clarkson was found shot dead at his mansion near Los Angeles on 3 February 2003. Following his brief court appearance yesterday, Spector condemned the decision of the prosecutor to seek a grand jury indictment, which eliminates the need for a preliminary hearing.

He claimed the absence of such a hearing was a violation of his rights as a California tax payer.

He said: "The actions of the Hitler-like district attorney and his storm trooper henchmen are reprehensible, unconscionable and despicable ... This district attorney is pursuing a personal vendetta."

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, said: "There is nothing politically motivated about this case. Ms Clarkson was killed almost two years ago. We basically want this case to go to trial."