Britney Spears' ex-manager: Not to blame for life in 'shambles'
The paparazzi shots have been seen all around the world -- a dead-eyed, make-up smeared Britney Spears shaving her head in a Tarzana hair salon and attacking an SUV with an umbrella -- but when they appeared as items of evidence Thursday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, they seemed to take on a new harshness.
The pop star’s mother, Lynne, a party in a civil trial playing out in Superior Court, looked stricken in the spectator gallery as the shots flashed onto a video monitor while an attorney described the period in 2007 when, in his words, Spears was a drug addict and her life was “a complete shambles.”
Jurors began hearing opening statements in a lawsuit brought by the man who acted as Spears’ manager during a portion of the tumultuous time that ended with a court giving her father control over her affairs and finances. Osama “Sam” Lutfi is suing Britney Spears for breach of contract for allegedly failing to pay his 15% fee; her father, James, for battery for allegedly punching him in the stomach; and her mother for libel for accusing him in a memoir of drugging the singer.
Lutfi’s lawyer, Joseph Schleimer, told jurors that in reality his client was working “sometimes 24 hours a day” to break Spears’ amphetamine addiction and that her parents had used him as “a scapegoat.”
“We can divert all this bad publicity and say it was that guy and not Britney that caused this erratic behavior,” he told jurors.
Lawyers for Spears and her parents are to deliver their opening remarks later. They have denied any wrongdoing.
Spears remains under a court-ordered conservatorship, and the judge overseeing it has said she cannot testify at the civil trial.
-- Harriet Ryan
Photo: Britney Spears in February. Credit: Vince Bucci / Associated Press