Posted Oct 22, 2012 03:10 pm CDT
Opening statements Thursday in a Los Angeles breach of contract trial included a photograph of Britney Spears with her head shaved, smashing an umbrella into a sports utility vehicle.
Attorney Joseph Schleimer represents the plaintiff, a former confidante of the famous singer. The lawyer contended during his preview of Sam Lutfi’s claims that Spears told Lutfi, after he became her manager in 2007, that she shaved her head earlier that year in order to keep her hair from being tested to determine if she was on drugs, according to the Associated Press and the New York Daily News.
Schleimer portrayed his client, who the attorney said brought in drug-sniffing dogs to check Spears’ hilltop home shortly after he agreed in June 2007 to become her manager for a 15-percent share of the singer’s earnings, has been made the whipping-boy for her problems.
“My client was made the scapegoat for the drug abuse and erratic behavior of Britney Spears,” said Schleimer. “Her parents decided to point the finger at him and say he’s responsible, not their daughter.”
In addition to his claim that he is owed under the alleged management contract allegedly breached by Spears and her parents, Lutfi is also seeking damages for alleged false and defamatory statements made in a book authored by Spears’ mother.
Although the defense was supposed to make its opening statements on Friday, TMZ reported that defense statements were just beginning as the day was winding to a close in other parts of the country.
A Radar Online post outlines what was initially being said by Leon Gladstone, a lawyer for Spears’ father, who told the jury Spears went into a downward spiral after breaking up with childhood sweetheart and fellow celebrity Justin Timberlake in 2003.
An Associated Press article supplemented that account, reporting that Gladstone, also relying on Spears’ shaved head and claimed drug issues, told the jury that her father had tried desperately to save her from herself and Lufti’s influence.
An earlier Radar Online post indicated that the defense is likely to say Lufti exacerbated Spears’ problems, rather than helping her manage them. Relying on unidentified sources, the article reports that Spears was spending $700,000 per month after she became involved with Lutfi. However, some of the money went for legal fees in a hard-fought, losing child-custody battle with Spears’ ex-husband, Kevin Federline.
Due to a court-ordered conservatorship, Spears is not expected to testify and she reportedly was not present for opening statements.
ABAJournal.com (2008): “Britney’s Lawyer: Big Tipper Federline Can Afford His Own Legal Fees”
ABAJournal.com: (2009): “Britney Spears Legal Bills Top $2.7M Under Dad’s Conservatorship”