Tense Britney Spears shows the strain amid claims she overdosed on amphetamines during mental breakdown
15:22 GMT, 19 October 2012
Britney Spears attempted to put on a brave face on Thursday afternoon as her ex manager made a series of bombshell claims about her in court.
The 30-year-old looked tense and disheveled as she stepped out in LA with a male companion wearing grimy tracksuit pants and a white T-shirt.
In an apparent effort to cheer herself up, she treated herself to a bunch of roses and a some retail therapy after a workout at her local gym. (Of course, the star recent made a rather more expensive purchase in the form of an $8.5million Los Angeles.)
Spears' outing came as a lawyer for her former manager Sam Lutfi made explosive allegations about the singer in opening statements at Los Angeles Superior Court.
Showing the strain: Britney Spears picked up flowers and clothes on an outing in LA yesterday as a civil case launched by her ex manager Sam Lutfi got underway
What court drama The star's former manager made a series of bombshell claims in opening statements at Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday
He claimed she was once hooked on
prescription drugs, downing up to 30 a day, and was in such a grip of
addiction she shaved her head to beat a drugs test.
Lutfi is suing Spears, her mother Lynne and father Jamie for defamation, breach of contract and libel.
'She liked to use amphetamines. Mostly everything that went wrong was because of this drug,' Lutfi's lawyer Joe Schleimer told the jury, alleging that Mr Lutfi was made a scapegoat for the singer's mental breakdown back in 2008.
Schleimer told the jury that Spears had a 'prescription for amphetamines, and overdosed on them' before being put in the involuntary 5150 hold.
Proud mother: Britney paid tribute to her son Preston with her necklace
Gym visit: The X Factor judge also stopped in for a workout
Lutfi felt that Spears should not perform at the 2007 MTV Awards as she was still overweight and did not rehearse. However 'Britney wouldn't hear it.'
The star's subsequent lacklustre performance at the ceremony was roundly criticised.
Schleimer added that Lutfi was trying to help the singer but lost control in a series of events that led to her being hospitalised and placed under a court-ordered conservator.
Lutfi is also seeking a share of the singer's fortunes, claiming he had an agreement to serve as her manager in exchange for 15 percent of her earnings.
Schleimer conceded the case would be a complicated one. His opening statements included flashing photos of Spears with a shaved head and striking an SUV with an umbrella back in 2007 during a period of her life which he described as a 'complete shambles.'
He said one of Lutfi's first actions after being hired as manager was having drug-sniffing dogs search the singer's hilltop home.
He claimed Spears favoured
amphetamines and that the dogs turned up a substance the Grammy-award winner
told Lutfi was probably crystal meth.
Turned sour: Lutfi, pictured with Spears in 2008, was once an integral part of the singer's camp but is now suing his former client and her parents for defamation and breach of contract
But Jurors are unlikely to hear directly
from the singer, who remains under a conservatorship overseen by a judge
who has ordered her not to appear for trial or a deposition.
Superior Court Judge Susan Bruguera told Schleimer during a break in
proceedings that all the accusations he raised during his opening
statement should be supported by evidence to be presented at trial.
Schleimer said he would prove them through either 'testimony or documentary evidence.'
Attorneys for Spears' parents and conservators will have their own opportunity to present opening remarks to jurors.
Lutfi and Spears' parents, Jamie and Lynne, were all in court as Schleimer made his opening statements to the panel of eight women and four men; Britney's parents took notes throughout.
Jamie Spears did not look up at the photos of his daughter that Schleimer displayed.
Lacklustre: Lutfi claims he did not want Spears taking part in the 2007 MTV awards but she 'wouldn't hear it'
Lutfi is seeking millions of dollars from Spears and her family, claiming her mother's Lynne's 2008 book: Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World, lied about him drugging and isolating the pop superstar.
He is also seeking a portion of the singer's profits, claiming he was a key player in her 2007 album Blackout and had the right to serve as her manager for years.
The case is the culmination of years of acrimony between Lutfi and Spears' family and conservators, who successfully obtained a restraining order against him to keep him from contacting the singer or trying to intervene in her life.
The order has expired, but conservatorship attorneys are seeking repayment for more than $93,000 in legal fees – a judgement Lutfi is appealing.
Shaved head: Schleimer told the jury Britney had shaved her head to avoid a drugs test on her follicles
Lutfi sued back in February 2009, roughly a year after Spears was hospitalised and placed under the conservatorship to take control of her health and finances.
The move by Jamie Spears came after months of erratic behaviour by his daughter, including shaving her head, speaking in a British accent and other bizarre incidents that also led to her losing custody of her two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline.
Lutfi was a constant presence around Spears during this tumultuous period of her life, her parents accused of him of crushing tablets into her food.
It's also been claimed that Britney was going broke during her time with Lufti.
With no source of income, the star – who was worth $32 million – was spending $700 a month, paying huge legal bills in her custody case with ex-Kevin Federline and renting luxury mansions, one of which she spent just three nights in.
In his court case he maintains that he was trying to help her, though her parents say Lutfi cut her phone line, hid her cellphones and used the paparazzi as 'henchmen.'
He also said that Britney shaved her hair to avoid the courts finding drug residue – which can remain in the strands for months after use.
Turned life around: Britney now has a role as a U.S. X Factor judge and plans to wed agent Jason Trawick
Schleimer claimed Lutfi befriended
the paparazzi so that they would treat Spears with more respect and
claims he tried to assemble top talent agents to jumpstart her career.
'Sam was trying to find top notch people to work with Britney,' he told the court.
Lufti is also planning to call Lourdes Torres to testify that Britney is being controlled by her parents via the conservatorship.
'Lulu ended up quitting her job because she was so disturbed by what she saw was happening to Britney…Lulu’s testimony could have significant impact on the jury because she spent a great deal of time with Britney and her parents after the conservatorship was put in place. Lulu isn’t after money, she just wants the truth to come out and it will be shocking,' a source told Radar.
Many of the claims about Lufti were included in court filings used to obtain the conservatorship, but Lynne Spears also included them in her book.
is suing for libel based on three chapters in the book that describe
him as a 'general' to the paparazzi and portray him as a man trying to
manipulate not only the singer, but also her mother.
Although she is still under conservatorship, Spears is now firmly back on track with a role as a judge on X Factor USA.
She is also now preparing to
marry long-term love Jason Trawick.
The case continues today.