Judge ends case against Britney Spears' parents
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2012 file photo, singer Britney Spears arrives at the Pre-GRAMMY Gala & Salute to Industry Icons with Clive Davis honoring Richard Branson in Beverly Hills, Calif. A judge on Thursday Nov. 1, 2012 dismissed libel, breach of contract and battery claims filed by Spears' former confidante Sam Lutfi against the singer's parents and her conservators. (AP Photo/Vince Bucci, file)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears' former confidante and self-professed manager failed to prove his libel and breach-of-contract claims against the singer's parents and her caretakers, a judge who dismissed the case mid-trial ruled Thursday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bruguera said an attorney for Sam Lutfi hadn't proven any of his allegations in the case that centered on events before the singer's public meltdown more than four years ago.
Lutfi's side rested its case Tuesday, but Bruguera agreed with arguments by attorneys for Spears' father and her conservators that there wasn't sufficient evidence to send the claims to a jury.
Lutfi had sued Lynne Spears for libel and the singer's father, Jamie, for allegedly hitting him at the singer's mansion in an incident shortly before Jamie Spears and others were granted control over the singer's life. Lutfi also had claimed he was owed a 15 percent share of the singer's earnings, but Bruguera disagreed.
Lutfi left the courtroom without speaking to reporters, and attorneys on both sides of the case declined to comment.
The case centered on many of Britney Spears' darkest moments, including a pair of psychiatric hospitalizations that led to her father being named her conservator. Her fiance, Jason Trawick, was added as a co-conservator earlier this year. The arrangement is overseen by a probate judge who had directed them not to allow the singer to appear at the trial.
Lutfi's attorney Joseph Schleimer had contended in opening statements that his client was made a scapegoat for Spears' downfall. Schleimer argued Spears' mother lied about claims that Lutfi drugged the singer and isolated her from family. And he said Lutfi's close relationship with the paparazzi was a way to get them to be less unruly and more respectful of the Grammy winner.
Yet Lutfi failed to show he had a binding management agreement that would have entitled him to 15 percent of the singer's profits from her 2007 album "Blackout" and other projects, the judge ruled. Joel Boxer, an attorney for Spears' conservators, argued that even if Lutfi had an agreement to serve as the singer's manager, he obtained it through undue influence.
FILE - In this May 14, 2012 file photo, new "X Factor" judge Britney Spears attends the FOX network upfront presentation party at Wollman Rink, in New York. A judge on Thursday Nov. 1, 2012 dismissed libel, breach of contract and battery claims filed by Spears' former confidante Sam Lutfi against the singer's parents and her conservators. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)
Lynne Spears' attorney Stephen Rohde noted that many of his client's claims were included in court filings that prompted a judge to place the singer under the conservatorship, and that those statements were made under oath.