– EN Showbiz – Britney Spears was granted a five-year restraining order against former manager Sam Lutfi on Thursday.
The Toxic hitmaker was granted a temporary protective order in court last month, amid allegations suggesting Lutfi had been sending harassing and threatening texts and tweets to Britney and her family, causing the star “severe mental trauma”.
And on Thursday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny made the decision to make the order permanent – which typically only lasts for five years in California – and forbade Lutfi from contacting Britney or her family, or making disparaging comments about them online.
Judge Penny had earlier heard testimony from Lutfi and Britney’s father Jamie, who has been her co-conservator for the past 11 years. While Lutfi’s attorney Marc Gans argued that the order would be a restraint on his free speech, the judge sided with Jamie, who claimed Britney’s ex-employee had been a “predator” on his family for the past decade.
Lutfi has been accused of attempting to incite Britney fans by using the #FreeBritney hashtag, which started on social media amid claims Britney had been made a rehab inpatient against her will.
Referencing Lutfi being close to Britney between 2007 and 2009, when she suffered the infamous breakdown which led to her seeking help in rehab, Jamie said: “I worried that he was trying to take down the conservatorship. I was very angry. I was worried that we were right back in 2008.”
The manager’s Twitter account formed much of the testimony, with Chad Hummel, an attorney for Britney’s conservatorship, arguing that it was almost entirely based on tweets critical of the situation.
However, Gans hit back that the tweets can’t be considered harassment and weren’t aimed at any individuals in particular. Lutfi also claimed that Britney herself, who wasn’t present in court, had been in touch with him at various points over the years to complain about her father and his control over her life.
“She wanted help to get out of this situation,” he alleged.
While many of Gans’ questions directed at Jamie were shut down by the judge, one that she allowed enquired about his relationship with his daughter.
“Me and my daughter’s relationship has always been strained,” Jamie conceded.
Following the testimonies, Judge Penny decided to award the order, after telling the court she wasn’t convinced by Lutfi’s “evasive” argument. Under the terms of the order, Lutfi is not allowed within at least 200 yards (183 metres) of Britney or her family.