Britney Spears' father 'punched ex-manager Sam Lutfi', court hears
Thursday 25 October 2012
Britney Spears' self-styled ex-manager told a Los Angeles court of a scene of domestic warfare, saying the superstar's father chased him around a kitchen, punched him and threatened his life.
Sam Lutfi, who is suing Spears' parents for defamation, gave evidence as they watched from across the courtroom.
He denied accusations made in a book by Lynne Spears that he was a Svengali who became the gatekeeper of her daughter's world, locking her parents out of her life.
He contends he was a benevolent caretaker who protected Britney during her highly-publicised meltdown.
Mr Lutfi's evidence concluded in dramatic fashion as he was overcome by tears while describing the aftermath of the publication of the book.
"After the book came out, there was a huge spike of death threats that were pretty bad," he said. "People I know were shunning me. websites were created to kill me. People wished I was dead. People wished my family ... ". He did not finish the sentence because he was crying.
"How did it make you feel," asked his lawyer Joseph Schleimer.
"Depressed, anxious and suicidal," Mr Lutfi said.
Mr Lutfi told of days leading to Spears' admission to a hospital psychiatric unit and jurors saw a video of the star ordering him around outside her home hours before she was taken away.
She was demanding that he let her drive her car and told him to get in the passenger seat. The scene outside her home was surreal, with TV lights and paparazzi surrounding her.
Mr Lutfi said Britney feared her father Jamie and fled her home when she heard he was coming. Mr Lutfi said the father confronted him twice and punched him on the second visit.
"Jamie came barging into the house. He lunged at me and chased me around the kitchen island. He was spitting, yelling, shouting at me, and said I had hurt his daughter and he was going to beat the hell out of me and I'd better get out of the house," Mr Lutfi said.
After 10 minutes, he said, Jamie Spears was escorted out by security guards. But the next morning, he got into the house again and the battle resumed.
"He cornered me in the kitchen, punched me in the solar plexus and threatened to kill me," Mr Lutfi said.
"How did it feel?" Mr Schleimer asked.
"It hurt," Mr Lutfi replied.
Asked what he did, he said: "I ran to the game room and locked myself in."
A lawyer for Spears, 30, said in opening statements that her father never physically assaulted Mr Lutfi and merely touched him on the chest.
With Mr Schleimer reading excerpts from Lynne Spears' book, Mr Lutfi methodically denied every one of her accusations.
"Were you in complete control of Britney's life?" Mr Schleimer asked.
"No," Mr Lutfi said.
"Did you attempt to keep Britney's family away?" he was asked. "To the contrary, sir," Mr Lutfi answered.
He denied cutting wires to phone lines in the house and hiding Britney's mobile phones. He also said he never drugged the superstar.
Court proceedings will resume today.
Mr Lutfi is suing for damages for defamation and for a 15% share of the millions of dollars Britney made while he was with her.
The singer remains under the guardianship of her father and has been told by a judge not to attend or give evidence in the trial.
She has made a remarkable comeback from her hard times, now acting as a judge on TV's The X Factor.
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
General Election 2015: Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind as he casts a line to the disaffected of Grimsby
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...