BRITNEY Spears’ ex-manager Sam Lutfi has been issued a five-year restraining order forbidding him from contacting the singer.
A judge granted the order after hearing that Lutfi had “harassed” the star and stirred up rumours about Britney being held against her will.
The ex-manager stirred up rumours about Britney being held against her will[/caption]
Lutfi, 44, must now stay at least 200 yards away from Britney and her family, make no attempts at contact and avoid making disparaging comments about the star.
LA Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny reached the decision after hearing from Lutfi and Spears’ dad James, who has controlled his daughter’s money via a court-ordered conservatorship for 11 years.
Ms Penny rejected arguments from Lutfi’s attorney, Marc Gans, that the order is an attack on his free speech.
Mr Gans said outside court that they are considering an appeal.
Lutfi, 44, must now stay at least 200 yards away from Britney, pictured in 2008[/caption]
James Spears conceded under questioning that he does not have the most peaceful relationship with Britney.
“Me and my daughter’s relationship has always been strained,” Mr Spears said.
But in further testimony, Mr Spears described Lutfi as a “predator” on his family for more than a decade.
He told the court how Lutfi, who was close to Britney in 2007 and 2008 and served briefly as her manager, had started harassing the family again in recent months.
“I worried that he was trying to take down the conservatorship,” Spears said from the stand.
“I was very angry. I was worried that we were right back in 2008.”
Britney had a very public breakdown in 2007 and 2008[/caption]
Britney had a very public breakdown in 2007 and 2008 which resulted in her losing custody of both her sons.
Mr Spears suggested that Lutfi has attempted to incite fans who have used the hashtag #FreeBritney to criticise the control Mr Spears and the court have had over the pop star for the past 11 years.
Lutfi’s Twitter account consists almost entirely of posts critical of Spears’ circumstances and those surrounding her.
But Mr Gans argued that none of the statements were made directly to individuals or could be considered harassment.
He also emphasized that Lutfi has made no direct contact with Britney Spears herself.
Mr Gans suggested that her dad and his lawyers were not speaking for her and had provided no evidence that she had in any way been harmed by Lutfi’s statements.
Britney was not present in court and she has made very few public comments on the conservatorship.
What is a conservatorship?
A conservatorship is when “an adult with a relationship to the individual, perhaps a spouse or other relative, [petitions] a county probate court for control over his or her affairs.”
It’s normally used when an adult “lacks mental capacity” to safely make their own decisions – commonly when someone is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or is psychotic or suicidal.
In this case, Britney’s dad Jamie, and her lawyer Andrew Wallett (who quit the position last month) would approve every personal, medical and financial decision she made.
Britney’s dad approves her spending, and any big decisions like getting married and buying houses. He also approves jobs – like taking on tours, Las Vegas residencies and joining shows like US X Factor.
Lutfi admitted that he had contacted Britney’s mum Lynne and the singer’s brother-in-law James Watson via texts and phone calls, and sent Lynne money that was subsequently returned.
He testified that he sent the money “just like numerous other fans did” because Lynne had “liked” Instagram posts that suggested she was in need of money and that she should be in charge of her daughter’s affairs instead of her ex-husband Mr Spears.
“I had a great relationship with Lynne Spears,” Lutfi said of his time with Britney Spears.
Lutfi and Mr Gans said that neither Lynne Spears nor Mr Watson had told him to stop communicating with them or told him he was harassing them.
Mr Gans also argued that tweets from his client, including one that simply said “Raise hell,” were far too vague to be considered harassment of the Spears family.
Penny disagreed, citing that tweet in her decision as illegal incitement.
The Spears family has frequently fought Lutfi in court, starting with a restraining order they received against him in 2009.
“He’s been asked repeatedly to stay away from this family,” Chad Hummel, an attorney for the conservatorship, said in closing arguments. “He can’t help himself.”
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