Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Case against Britney parents fails

Britney Spears's father and her fiance, Jason Trawick, continue to serve as her conservators (AP)

Britney Spears's former confidante and self-professed manager failed to prove any of his libel and breach-of-contract claims against the singer's parents and her caretakers, a judge who dismissed his case mid-trial has ruled.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bruguera said a lawyer for Sam Lutfi had not proven any of his claims in the case that centred on events before the singer's public meltdown more than four years ago.

Lutfi's side rested its case on Tuesday but Judge Bruguera agreed with arguments by lawyers for Britney's father and her conservators that there was not sufficient evidence to send any of his claims to a jury.

Lutfi had sued Lynne Spears for libel, and sued the singer's father, Jamie, for allegedly hitting him at the singer's mansion in an incident shortly before Jamie Spears and others were granted control over the singer's life. Lutfi had also claimed he was owed a 15% share of the singer's earnings, but Judge Bruguera disagreed.

The case centred on many of Britney's darkest moments, including a pair of psychiatric hospitalisations that led to her father being named her conservator.

The singer's father and her fiance, Jason Trawick, continue to serve as her conservators. The arrangement is overseen by a probate judge who had directed them not to allow the singer to appear at the trial.

Lutfi's lawyer Joseph Schleimer had contended in opening statements that his client was made a scapegoat for Britney's downfall. He argued her mother lied about claims that Lutfi drugged the singer and isolated her from family, and said his close relationship with the paparazzi was a way to get them to be less unruly and more respectful of the Grammy winner.

Yet Lutfi failed to show he had a binding management agreement that would have entitled him to 15% of the singer's profits from her 2007 album Blackout and other projects.

Lutfi sued in 2009, the same year that Britney's conservators obtained a restraining order against him to stop trying to contact her or meddle in her affairs.

He told jurors he endured death threats after the publication of Lynne Spears' book, Through The Storm: A Real Story Of Fame And Family In A Tabloid World, and he claimed the experience left him depressed and suicidal.

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