Under her father’s care and control, Britney Spears now lives a protected life, her access even to telephones strictly restricted.
So when the 27-year-old pop star managed to get a prepaid cell phone recently, her security team confiscated it from her purse while she was at a dance practice. Confronted, she revealed the phone was given to her by someone during a hotel stay.
And that person, she disclosed, got it from two men whom her father wants to keep permanently in the singer’s troubled past: ex-manager Sam Lutfi and former boyfriend, paparazzo Adnan Ghalib.
Jamie Spears described the cellular phone incident in testimony Monday in a Los Angeles court as he sought to maintain a restraining order against Lutfi, whom Jamie has claimed harassed Britney and has sought to undermine Jamie’s legal control over her life.
"Leave Us Alone"
“When [Lutfi] was in so-called control, she’d lost everything – her kids and career,” Jamie said at the hearing. “I believe he’s a predator, I believe he’s very dangerous to her … and causes her a lot of anguish and disbelief. We’ve asked him to go away before, and now he’s coming back. We just want the man to go away. Just leave us alone.”
In court papers, Lutfi 34, denies he’s been harassing Spears, countering that it’s been Spears reaching out to him – not the other way around – by sending him text messages even though court orders forbid her from doing so.
Lutfi does admit that he’s passed messages on to her through her hairdresser and others, including Ghalib, 36, but argues that the messages weren’t harmful in any way.
Harassing Text Messages
But Jamie Spears testified about a series of what he called threatening text messages he received last month from someone with the screen name “citygalin310,” who he was later “100 percent” sure was Lutfi.
Without divulging details, Spears said the texts appeared to be someone “trying to extort my daughter.” He replied to the messages by saying, “What are you looking for? Our family has been through so much.”
Fifteen minutes after receiving those texts, Jamie said Lutfi called him. “[Sam] began to cry and he basically fell apart on the phone,” said Jamie.
Lutfi complained that the Spears family statements against him “were giving him a bad name,” Jamie said. “He went on and on. He said he knew what was wrong with [Britney].” Lutfi wanted to meet with Jamie to discuss her situation, but Jamie declined and referred Lutfi to his lawyer, Jamie testified.
Details of Stand-Off
Jamie also revealed why his daughter locked herself in a bathroom with son Jayden, leading to her first hospitalization last year.
“She was told by Lutfi she could have her children for another night,” Jamie said. But when a bodyguard for her ex-husband Kevin Federline arrived to get the children, “She didn’t want to let her kids go because she thought she could have them for another night,” Jamie said.
He then somberly described his daughter during that night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as “kind of wild” and “just very messed up.”
Before he took legal control, he testified, Britney’s life “was pretty well a disaster. She had nothing going on, just mostly [being] in the tabloids.” But today she’s “very stable, making her meetings, taking care of her babies, doing things she’s supposed to do,” he said.
In cross-examination, Lutfi’s attorney Bryan Freedman pointed out that Spears’s father only knew of one outgoing call to Lutfi’s number. Spears testified that he didn’t know whether Lutfi answered the line or not.
Lutfi’s lawyer denied to PEOPLE that Lutfi was the user of screen name “citygalin310.”
The hearing will resume Wednesday with more testimony from other witnesses.
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• Lynne Spears accuses Sam Lufti of drugging Britney