Since Britney Spears' father seized power over her affairs via a legal conservatorship in early 2008, the pop star hasn't made any public statements about losing the right to control her finances and career decisions. In the For the Record documentary (produced by the Spears team) that ran on MTV last fall, she described her post-breakdown life: "Even when you go to jail, y'know, there's the time when you're gonna get out. But in this situation, it's never ending. It's just like Groundhog Day." And in a Los Angeles courtroom today, the lawyer representing her former manager Sam Lutfi as he fights his restraining order likened Spears' life to a "prison," Us reports.
Living under the conservatorship is causing Spears "emotional distress," said John Anderson, Lutfi's lawyer and not the lead singer of Yes. Jamie Spears' lawyer countered that Lutfi was an "alleged extortionist" who threatened to disseminate "threatening information" against Spears. In more strange testimony, Lutfi's sister Christine told the court that she smuggled Britney a cell phone from Lutfi and ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib in an attempt to get a lawyer to fight the conservatorship. Christine testified that she met Britney at the gym of Beverly Hills' Peninsula Hotel, handed her the phone and Spears recorded a message that's since made its way around the Internet:
"Hi my name's Britney Spears. I called you earlier. I'm calling again because I just wanted to make sure that during the process of eliminating the conservatorship that my father has threatened me several times, you know, he'll take my children away.
I just want to be guaranteed that everything will be fine with the process of you guys taking care of everything that things will stay the same as far as my custodial time. That's it, bye."
Jamie Spears' lawyers claimed the message sounds like it was spliced together and cast doubt that the voice was even Britney's. A judge denied Lutfi's request to remove the temporary restraining order against him.
When she wrote her Britney Spears cover story for Rolling Stone in December 2008, Jenny Eliscu explained that she didn't think the conservatorship was appropriate. "Because it is designed, ideally, to protect people who are seriously ill. We're talking about people who are non compos mentis, according to the lawyers I consulted. Or they're in a vegetative state. Or they're just so old that they can't take care of themselves anymore. But Britney? It was making less and less sense as time went on."
In other Britney news, Jamie Spears threatened legal action against fan site Breathe Heavy if its Webmaster did not either comply to his demands or shut it down. "I have been battling the conservatorship Britney is currently placed under for months now. When I did not conform to the requests and demands Britney's management and father, Jamie Spears, recently put upon BreatheHeavy to stay quiet, they in turn became angry and malicious, launching, what I feel is an unjust attack, against me and my Website," BreatheHeavy's Jordan Miller wrote. Miller added that Jamie said, "I will destroy your ass" during a phone conversation. While the site hasn't completely shut down (it's still reporting news and giving fans a forum to discuss each concert) Breathe Heavy has taken to distorting and pixilating photos of Spears and even spelling her name "Brittany Speerz" in an attempt to avoid copyright violation.
• Britney Spears' Legal Fees: $2.7 Million and Counting Since Father Seized Control
• Britney Spears' Life in Photos: A Timeline of the Star's Rise, Fall and Comeback
• Britney Spears: The Complete Video Guide
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies