A civil trial against Britney Spears and her family opened yesterday in Los Angeles as the singer's former confidant, Sam Lufti, accused Spears of drug use and demanded millions from her and her family, the Associated Press reports. Lufti's attorney, Joseph Schleimer, argued that his client had tried to help Spears through difficult times but lost control of the situation, leading to the singer's hospitalization and placement under a court-ordered conservator.
Lufti wants a share of Spears' profits, claiming they had a managerial agreement that entitled Lufti to take a 15 percent cut of her earnings. "My client was made a scapegoat for drug abuse and erratic behavior of Britney Spears," said Schleimer, claiming that amphetamines were Spears' drug of choice. "He was terrified of being her manager when she overdosed."
Lufti also says Spears' mother inaccurately wrote in her 2008 book Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World that Lufti had isolated and drugged the singer, and claims he deserves a portion of Spears' profits from her 2007 album Blackout. He has filed a libel suit based on three chapters of Through the Storm.
Lufti originally sued in February 2009, around a year after Spears was hospitalized and placed under a conservatorship. Spears and her family had a restraining order against Lufi, which has since expired. Conservatorship attorneys want $93,000 in repayment in legal fees, but Lufti has filed an appeal against the judgment.
Spears herself is unlikely to make a court appearance; she is still under a conservatorship, and her supervising judge has ordered her not to appear for trial or a deposition.