A Los Angeles courtroom heard testimony yesterday on whether or not to extend the restraining orders barring her former manager and sidekick Sam Lutfi and other past hangers-on from having contacts with troubled star Britney Spears.
Attorney John Anderson took the stand and told Superior Court Commissioner Aviva K. Bobb that he was asked to represent the pop star in a battle to free her from the conservatorship controlled by her father, Jamie Spears.
“A person who purported to be Sam Lutfi told me that all of Britney Spears’ phone rights were cut off,” he said, adding that he was also told that the mother of two was under tight control by her father and virtually “in prison.”
John Anderson – who may or may not be the recipient of the leaked voicemail circulating this week – testified that he drew up papers to be retained as counsel and in turn received copies back allegedly signed by Britney Spears herself.
He said he was made aware that another court-appointed attorney had already been assigned to Spears, but was told the singer was “not confident” in the other lawyer’s abilities and wanted to hire a new representative in the courtroom.
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Anderson did contact the attorneys representing Spears’ conservatorship, who dissuaded him from attempting to further pursue working for the star.
Instead, he voluntarily ended his involvement in the Spears legal debacle on January 28, after learning Jamie Spears and the conservatorship were getting restraining orders against Lutfi, former Britney beau Adnan Ghalib and Jon Eardley.
The restraining orders were obtained January 30, after Jamie Spears said in court that he had evidence the trio was trying to deliberately undermine the conservatorship, and he labeled ostensible mastermind Lutfi a “predator.”
But yesterday, Sam Lutfi’s sister, Christina, testified that she answered her brother’s phone one time when Britney was calling to ask Sam to find her a new lawyer.
Britney said “they” wouldn’t let her talk on the phone, Christina Lutfi says, admitting that she was the one who slipped her a prepaid phone on behalf of her brother and Ghalib at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills January 16.
And, Ms. Lutfi said, she – and not her brother Sam, as the singer’s camp has alleged repeatedly in its keep-away court petition – was the one who called Britney Spears “numerous times to make sure she was OK.”
For his part, Sam Lutfi has sued Britney Spears for unpaid management fees, and filed a separate suit against her parents Jamie and Lynne Spears for slander as well as a host of other grievances. Both suits are pending.
Last month, Bobb extended the restraining order against Adnan Ghalib to three years after the shady celebrity gossip photographer – who is facing unrelated felony charges – failed to show up at any of three previous hearings.
Will the court do likewise for Sam Lutfi and Jon Eardley?
Jon Eardley’s attorney, Roger Diamond, says he is surprised that his client’s motion to dismiss the restraining order was denied by the judge:
“I was virtually certain that the judge would grant the motion since there no basis to the statute that they are using to prosecute Mr. Eardley,” Diamond said.
As to why the order against Lutfi should be tossed, attorney Bryan Freedman said, “I do not believe that [the conservatorship has] shown substantial emotional distress.”
Closing statements are scheduled to take place April 21.