Britney Spears drivers license case goes to jury

Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:55pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jurors began deliberating on Friday in Britney Spears' trial on a charge of driving without a California license, after prosecutors mocked her defense that she considered Louisiana her home.

The jury of eight women and four men went out just before noon (8 p.m. GMT) to consider the case against Spears, which prosecutors say turns on the issue of whether she was a resident of California or Louisiana.

The case stems from an August, 2007 collision between Spears and another car in a Los Angeles parking lot as photographers trailed her, and the 26-year-old pop star could face a maximum 6-month jail sentence if convicted. Prosecutors say she would more likely face probation and a fine.

"The defendant would have you believe that she is a tumbleweed, essentially, and that she has all these properties, she has all these assets across the country and she always intends to go back to Louisiana," prosecutor Michael Amerian said.

"She's always in a Louisiana state of mind," Amerian said sarcastically, adding that the 26-year-old pop star married, had two children in California and clearly considered it her home.

Showing the jury a November, 2006 divorce document listing California as her state of residence, Amerian said: "If ever there was a smoking gun, this is it."

Spears did not take the witness stand during the one-day trial in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Van Nuys but her father told the court during his testimony that she intended to return to Louisiana, where she was raised in Kentwood.

"She had a valid Louisiana drivers license because she keeps thinking, 'Maybe next month I can go back to Louisiana," defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan said.

"Film and videos and stuff like that (are) not really big in the bayou," he said. "She can't make as good a living there but it's her home."

(Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb)

<p>Britney Spears drives her car out of the garage of Los Angeles Superior Court after a child custody hearing, October 26, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>