LOS ANGELES — A choose on Thursday issued a five-year restraining order forbidding Britney Spears‘ former supervisor from contacting the singer or her household or making disparaging statements about them on-line.
Los Angeles Superior Court docket Decide Brenda Penny reached the choice after listening to testimony from the ex-manager, 44-year-old Sam Lutfi, and from Spears’ father, James Spears, who has managed his daughter’s cash and affairs through a court-ordered conservatorship for 11 years.
Penny rejected arguments from Lutfi’s legal professional, Marc Gans, that the order is an unconstitutional restraint on his shopper’s free speech, calling Lufi’s testimony evasive and increasing the short-term restraining order she first issued on May 8.
Gans mentioned exterior court docket that they’re contemplating an enchantment. James Spears declined remark.
James Spears conceded beneath questioning from Gans that he doesn’t have probably the most peaceable relationship with Britney Spears.
“Me and my daughter’s relationship has always been strained,” James Spears mentioned.
However in additional testimony that Penny mentioned she discovered forthright and credible, James Spears testified that Lutfi, who was near Britney Spears in 2007 and 2008 and served briefly as her supervisor, has been a “predator” on his household for greater than a decade whose harassment has lately resumed.
“I worried that he was trying to take down the conservatorship,” Spears mentioned from the stand. “I was very angry. I was worried that we were right back in 2008.”
Spears and his attorneys steered, and Penny appeared to agree, that Lutfi has tried to incite followers who’ve used the social-media hashtag #Free Britney to criticize the management James Spears and the court docket have had over the pop star for the previous 11 years.
Lutfi’s Twitter account, the topic of a lot of the testimony, consists virtually totally of posts crucial of Spears’ circumstances and people surrounding her.
However Gans argued that not one of the statements had been made on to people or could possibly be thought-about harassment.
He additionally emphasised that Lutfi has made no direct contact with Britney Spears herself, and steered that her father and his attorneys weren’t talking for her and had supplied no proof that she had in any manner been harmed by Lutfi’s statements.
Britney Spears was not current in court docket, and he or she has made only a few public feedback on the conservatorship.
In testimony that Penny struck from the report, Lutfi mentioned that Britney Spears had reached out to him at varied occasions by way of the years to complain about her father’s management over her.
“She wanted help to get out of this situation,” Lutfi mentioned.
The choose additionally shut down most of Gans’ questions towards James Spears. The questions requested him to debate his daughter’s psychological state and tried to ascertain that disparaging on-line statements Lutfi had made about James Spears’ use of alcohol and his enriching himself by way of the conservatorship had been true and constitutionally protected.
Lutfi admitted that he had contacted Britney Spears’ mom, Lynne Spears, and the singer’s brother-in-law James Watson through texts and telephone calls, and despatched Lynne Spears cash that was subsequently returned.
Lutfi testified that he despatched the cash “just like numerous other fans did” as a result of Lynne Spears had “liked” Instagram posts that steered she was in want of cash and that she must be in control of her daughter’s affairs as an alternative of her ex-husband James Spears.
“I had a great relationship with Lynne Spears,” Lutfi mentioned of his time with Britney Spears.
Lutfi and Gans mentioned that neither Lynne Spears nor Watson had instructed him to cease speaking with them or instructed him he was harassing them.
Gans additionally argued that tweets from his shopper, together with one which merely mentioned “Raise hell,” had been far too imprecise to be thought-about harassment of the Spears household.
Penny disagreed, citing that tweet in her choice as unlawful incitement.
The proceedings had been a resumption of a listening to that started on May 28 and had been closed to the media and the remainder of the general public. However Penny, who additionally oversees Spears’ conservatorship case, saved the courtroom open on Thursday.
The Spears household has often fought Lutfi in court docket, beginning with a restraining order they acquired towards him in 2009.
“He’s been asked repeatedly to stay away from this family,” Chad Hummel, an legal professional for the conservatorship, mentioned in closing arguments. “He can’t help himself.”