Archive for February, 2008

Britney Hires Another New Lawyer In Custody Battle

Written by admin. Posted in Custody Battle

Once again, Britney Spears has a new lawyer: High-profile attorney Stacy D. Phillips became the latest to sign on for the custody case.

Phillips, who was approved by a court commissioner Tuesday, replaced Sorrell Trope, who quit after complaining of problems communicating with the troubled pop star.

A Columbia University law grad, Phillips represented Bobby Brown in his divorce from Whitney Houston, and Tori Spellling’s ex, Charlie Shahnaian. She’s also a frequent legal analyst in magazines and on television.

She also authored Divorce: It’s All About Control, once explaining that, “I’ve yet to handle a divorce where control was not an issue or at issue.”

Phillips becomes Spears’s fourth lawyer in her ongoing battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline. Her first attorney, Laura Wasser, resigned from her case last September shortly after Spears’s divorce from Federline was finalized.

Spears then hired the firm Freid & Goldsman, but their relationship ended within days, before retaining Trope, who sought to leave the case, come back, then filed papers again to depart, this time for good.

Source: People Magazine

Britney's Lawyers Prepare For Custody Hearing

Written by admin. Posted in Custody Battle

Attorneys for Britney Spears return to court Tuesday morning for the first scheduled custody hearing since the pop star’s most recent hospitalization.

Insiders doubt there will be any major change from the current custody arrangement, which bars Spears from visiting her sons Preston, 2, and Jayden, 1. (She is, however, allowed telephone contact.) Still, it’s possible the 26-year-old singer – who hasn’t seen the boys since her Jan. 3 standoff with police – could be awarded some temporary physical access.

Tuesday’s court session – which was scheduled after Spears’s stay in the psych ward at the UCLA Medical Center – sets the stage for more major hearings in the coming weeks, as Spears and Kevin Federline seek to reevaluate their custody agreement. (Her former husband and backup dancer is seeking full physical custody.)

The judge may also hear arguments from Federline’s attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, who has asked for a full psychological evaluation of the troubled pop star.

But the biggest news out of today’s hearing could be a change in representation for Spears. Los Angeles attorney Sorrell Trope has asked – for the second time – to be released from the case. (The law firm of Trope & Trope filed similar papers in January, but later withdrew the request.

Possible replacements include Laura Wasser, who resigned from Spears’s case in September. At the time, she denied “dumping” Spears, telling PEOPLE the singer’s legal team simply needed “fresh blood.” But Wasser appears to be back in the picture, after reportedly visiting Spears during her UCLA stay.

Source: People Magazine

Britney Arranges Secret Meeting With Alli At Fred Segal

Written by admin. Posted in Personal Issues

E! News has learned that Britney Spears met secretly with her pal Alli Sims Friday afternoon at the Fred Segal boutique in West Hollywood.

Sources tell E! that Sims arrived at the store about 10 minutes before Britney who then tried to slip inside unnoticed. A source tells E! that Spears hatched the meet-up via text-message, reportedly instructing Sims to meet her in a dressing room there.

The stealth tactics were apparently prompted by the fact that Alli has been prohibited from seeing Britney by her father Jamie Spears due to Alli’s loyalty to Britney’s former manager and confidante Sam Lutfi. After their cloakroom confab, the pair shopped together briefly.

Later, confronted by an E! video crew outside Italian restaurant Orso on Saturday night, Sims confirmed the Fred Segal meeting with Spears. Sims told E! camera man James Sullivan that she and Britney “had fun” shopping, but Sims wouldn’t comment when asked about how Sam is doing.

Well, we know what Sam wasn’t doing. Around the same time Sims confirmed her meeting with Britney to E!, Spears was at L.A. nightclub Social with an unusual party partner: her father Jamie.

And, needless to say, no Sam in sight.

Source: E! News

New Lawyer Interferes With Britney's Case

Written by admin. Posted in Legal Matters

The man who claims to be Britney Spears’s new lawyer says that the pop star is being “deprived of her Constitutional rights” and tells PEOPLE he is seeking a “return to normalcy” when it comes to Spears’s living and legal situations.

Jon Eardley, a lawyer with practices in Washington, D.C., New York and Whittier, Calif., filed a complaint in U.S. District Court on behalf of Spears on Thursday. He lashed out against the existing conservatorship as a “violation of [Spears’s] civil rights,” and requested the case be moved from California state court to a federal court.

“I see the case as a civil rights case,” he tells PEOPLE. “These are issues of confinement. Very serious confinement. Not allowed to contact her friends. Not allowed to use the phone. Not allowed to come and go as you please. Bodyguards controlling you and so forth.”

Spears’s father Jamie was granted temporary conservatorship – allowing legal control of his daughter’s well-being and finances – after Spears was placed under an involuntary, emergency hold at the UCLA Medical Center’s psychiatric ward late last month.

Since her release on Feb. 6, she has spent much of her time at her Studio City home, and when she does go out, she is usually driven by a bodyguard. In court papers, Eardley states: “She is being confined by the conservator to the private prison of her own home.”

On Friday, a Superior Court spokesperson said that the existing conservatorship and other orders “are still in effect,” and that court officials are unaware of any federal court action or scheduled hearings on the matter.

“The saddest part [of the legal maneuvering] is it is all to [Britney’s] detriment,” says a legal insider. “The limited conservatorship puts in place medical care and protection of her assets that may be put at risk by the distraction and expense of having to get such an opportunistic and counterproductive action dismissed.”

In fact, legal experts say Eardley’s legal gambit is unlikely to succeed. “It’s not like the judge read papers filed by one side and made decisions without giving each side due process,” says Loyola Law School Professor Stan Goldman, who is not involved in the case.

“It would be quite surprising if the federal court granted a hearing on this,” he adds, “and a total shocker if it ruled against the conservatorship.”

In addition, the Superior Court has found that Spears “lacks the capacity” to retain counsel of her choosing. Because of that, lawyer Adam Streisand, who went to court on Feb. 4 to challenge the conservatorship on her behalf, removed himself himself from the case.

Eardley says he has not met the pop star, but Spears sought him out: “She reached out by phone. I have no idea how [she got my number].”

The attorney says he doesn’t normally represent celebrity clients. But now Eardley has hired spokesperson Michael Sands, who until recently worked with Kevin Federline’s lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan.

When asked if Spears’s often-erratic behavior posed a danger to herself and others, Eardley answered, “I don’t,” adding that he sees far worse cases on the streets.

“In downtown Los Angeles I’m surrounded by people talking to themselves and having fits on the street,” says Eardley. “They are out in public. They are not being institutionalized.”

Source: People Magazine

Britney Spends Quiet Weekend With Her Father

Written by admin. Posted in Personal Issues

Britney Spears marked a relatively quiet President’s Day weekend, with her Saturday spent in the company of her father and her assistant Brett inside her Beverly Hills home.

When his daughter did go out, Jamie Spears, who has been appointed a conservator in charge of Britney’s well-being and her finances, accompanied her to dinner, with the two joining a small party at Citrus at Social Hollywood, on Sunset Boulevard.

Outside chef Michel Richards’s new restaurant, a photographer asked the pop star, 26, how she was doing. “Good,” she replied gently.

At dinner, “she seemed totally normal and level-headed, and everyone with her seemed calm,” said a customer in the restaurant. “She was with a table of five people.”

When she left, she exited through a side door, and took a coffee cup with her.

The occasion was a stark contrast to exactly a year ago, when a frenzied Spears went into a San Fernando Valley salon and shaved off her hair.

On Saturday, she wore a long chocolate-brown jersey dress with spaghetti straps, accessorized with silver jewelry including drop earrings, a necklace and a watch.

The previous day, the singer spent time inside some West Hollywood boutiques, where she browsed rather than bought.

The weekend also brought an invitation from her Beverly Hills neighbor, Heidi Klum – who said Spears could come live with her, husband Seal and their three children as a means to help get her life back on track.

Source: People Magazine

Britney's Family Gets Extended Control Of Britney

Written by admin. Posted in Legal Matters, Personal Issues

Britney Spears’s family members tightened their grip on her finances Thursday as the court extended her father’s co-conservator role and granted her brother influence over her day-to-day expenses.

L.A. Superior Court Commissioner Reva Goetz made the rulings amid signs that the singer’s family has helped keep Britney out of trouble since her early release from a psych ward.

Her father Jamie Spears has been overseeing his 26-year-old daughter’s well-being and her estimated $100-million fortune since Feb. 1, when Goetz named him and Andrew Wallet temporary co-conservators – giving them the right to employ bodyguards who control Britney’s actions and restrict her visitors.

On Thursday, Jamie and Wallet requested that the status quo be maintained until March 10 because a psychiatric evaluation of Britney, due Wednesday, had not yet been submitted. The commissioner granted the extension, scheduling a hearing that day to consider extending the conservatorship even further.

Britney’s father and Wallet were also granted the power to handle the singer’s taxes, and Britney’s brother Bryan, 30, was named as a trustee of her trust. According to court papers, trust funds are used “to pay for Britney’s continued security, and to pay for her medicine, food, other day-to-day expenses and for psychiatric and other medical services.”

Attorney Jeryll Cohen, representing Jamie, says they still haven’t been able to serve a restraining order against Britney’s pal Sam Lutfi who, Cohen says, seems to be avoiding service. Lynne Spears has accused Lutfi of drugging and verbally abusing her daughter.

Since Britney’s father has taken charge of her affairs, she has kept an uncharacteristically low profile with relatively low-key outings: shopping with her mom, Lynne, and regular trips to the Millennium Dance Complex.

“She’s getting proper medical care and has professional security. The chaos has been removed from the situation,” says one legal insider.

Meanwhile, as Jamie was in court, Britney’s mother, Lynne, was spotted heading out of town at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday.

Source: People Magazine

One Of Britney's Dance Students Opens Up About The Class

Written by admin. Posted in Personal Issues

Britney Spears returned to her role as teacher yesterday afternoon, leading a dance lesson at North Hollywood’s Millennium Dance Complex.

Usmagazine.com caught up with local resident Grace Mitjans and her daughter Gigi, who attended both classes. They praised the pop singer’s teaching skills.

“I got a call at 5 p.m. [Monday] saying that Britney was teaching a dancing class at 6 p.m. and that Gigi should come,” mom Grace told Us yesterday afternoon after Spears’ second class.

“So we rush down here and when we arrived, we were ushered to the back. There were photographers on the balconies — it was crazy!”

When they arrived, they immediately spotted Spears, who was “dressed in tiny black shorts with a pink top and black boots,” said mom Grace.

Added daughter Gigi, “[Britney] came up and gave me a big hug. She hugged me three times last night! She was so nice. I brought her a chocolate Valentine rose. She said thank you and put it in her bag.”

Daughter Gigi said they danced to Madonna’s “Material Girl.”

“Britney was very into it and personally made sure every kid was having a great time,” mom Grace said.

As the students left the room, Spears “told us that she appreciates us coming and she hopes we come again,” mom Grace said.

Added daughter Gigi: “She hugged me again. When I got home, I cried in bed because I was so happy.”

They returned Tuesday for a second session.

“We showed up, and she was wearing Cheetah shorts and looked so healthy and beautiful,” the student’s mother, Grace, told Us. “Her butt was hanging out.”

Despite the fashion slip-up, daughter Gigi said Spears was still in control.

“We danced, and she hugged me again. I gave her my phone number on a Valentine card and she said thank you,” Gigi said.

Spears, mom Grace said, “welled up with tears and said that she really appreciated it.”

When asked if she thought Spears is “a good mommy,” daughter Gigi emphatically told Us, “Yes!”

Mom Grace told Us she wasn’t uneasy leaving her daughter under Spears’ guidance.

“I have never seen my daughter so happy!” mom Grace told Us. “She is learning some dance moves too that she was doing all last night.

“She was so excited to show them to Britney today and told her that she practiced for her. Britney said, ‘Awwww!'”

Spears, added mom Grace, “is young and made some mistakes. It is obvious that she loves kids very much and that she is great with children. I will bring my daughter to every one of her classes.”

Spears plans to teach another class on Thursday.

Source: Us Weekly