Britney Spears Granted A Restraining Order Against Former Manager
A judge issued a five-year restraining order on Thursday that forbids Britney Spears’ former manager from contacting the star or her family, also banning him from making any disparaging statements about them online.
According to TMZ, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny reached the decision after hearing testimony from the ex-manager, Sam Lutfi, and from Spears’ father, James, who has controlled his daughter’s money and affairs via a court-ordered conservatorship for 11 years.
Penny rejected arguments from Lutfi’s attorney, Marc Gans, that the order is an unconstitutional restraint on his client’s free speech, saying that Lufi’s testimony was evasive and proceeding to extend the temporary restraining order she first issued on May 8–though Gans said outside court that they are considering an appeal.
James Spears conceded under questioning from Gans that he does not have the most peaceful relationship with Britney Spears. “Me and my daughter’s relationship has always been strained,” he admitted. But in further testimony, Spears testified that Lutfi, who was close to Britney back in 2007 and 2008 and served briefly as her manager, has been a “predator” on his family for more than a decade, whose harassment has recently resumed.
“I worried that he was trying to take down the conservatorship,” Britney’s father said from the stand. “I was very angry. I was worried that we were right back in 2008.”
Spears and his lawyers suggested that Lutfi has attempted to incite fans using the hashtag #FreeBritney on social media to criticize the control James and the court have had over the pop star for the past decade. Lutfi’s Twitter account consists almost entirely of posts critical of Spears’ circumstances and those surrounding her–but 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.
Britney Spears was not present in court and has made very few public comments on the conservatorship.
In a testimony that Penny struck from the record, Lutfi said that Britney Spears had reached out to him at various times through the years to complain about her father’s control over her. “She wanted help to get out of this situation,” Lutfi said.
These proceedings were a resumption of a hearing that began on May 28 and had been closed to the media and the rest of the public. But Penny–who also oversees Spears’ conservatorship case–kept the courtroom open on Thursday.
This is far from the first time the Spears family has fought Lutfi in court, which started with a restraining order they received against him back in 2009.