Britney Spears' Ex-Manager Tried to "Save" Her
Documents obtained by The Fix shed light on claims made in a bitterly disputed, drug-soaked lawsuit that goes to court next week.
Britney Spears won't be allowed to testify in a jury trial starting October 1—a lawsuit in which her former manager, Sam Lutfi, accuses her family of defamation, libel, violence and breach of contract. But legal documents obtained by The Fix indicate what she might have been expected to tell the jury—points that the Lutfi camp won't be slow to make once the trial begins.
Sam Lutfi became Spears' manager from June 2007, months before the troubled pop star lost custody of her children—due to her being a "habitual, frequent and continuous" user of alcohol and controlled substances, court documents stated back then—following her divorce from Kevin Federline. Spears can't currently be called to testify due to her being placed under a conservatorship for her protection in 2008; the judge overseeing that conservatorship has ruled that putting her on the stand would cause her "irreparable harm and immediate danger."
The documents now obtained by The Fix indicate that Lutfi was set to retain 15% of Spears' gross earnings while he was her manager—some $120,000 per month. They state that Lutfi tried to prevent Spears' drug use, allegedly including Adderall abuse, and that after she relapsed in September 2007 he "threw his hands up and walked away." He then moved into her home that October, they continue—the month she lost custody of her children—but only under the condition she stop taking drugs. Overall, the documents claim that the conservators are blocking Britney Spears' testimony not for her own protection, as they say, but because she would refute her family’s claims, including that Lutfi drugged her food and removed her car’s batteries. If Britney Spears could appear in court, they note, she might testify that Lutfi didn't cut off her phones—as was claimed by Britney’s mother, Lynne Spears, in her 2008 book, Through the Storm, as well as in a damning temporary restraining order against Lutfi filed by the Spears family in early 2008.
Britney Spears is represented on this trial by her co-conservators: Jamie Spears (her father) and attorney Andrew Wallet. Their lawyer, Joel Boxer, tells The Fix that he won’t comment while in litigation. The Spears team submitted an argument to the judge last week that, "[Lutfi] will have ample opportunity to fashion his story to the jury to exploit Britney's absence as a witness at trial: the co-conservators' hands are tied in that regard." They propose that Lutfi's team should not be able to sway the jury by implying that Britney Spears' absence is voluntary or improper.
Meanwhile Lutfi’s lawyer, Joseph Schleimer, who also refused comment, is insisting that if Britney Spears were able to appear in court, she'd say that far from being a divisive presence, Sam Lutfi actually tried to end her estrangement from her parents in 2007. Lutfi's representatives are claiming that the Spears family showed malice towards their client, citing a text message sent from Jamie Spears to Sam Lutfi on December 17, 2007: “If and when I met u one thing is going to happen I am going to jail and you are going to the hospital.” Britney Spears allegedly then told Lutfi: “I told you so.”