LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The one-time confidante of Britney Spears said he crushed up drugs in the pop singer’s food to help her sleep and disabled her phone lines during the height of her meltdown five years ago, Spears’ mother testified on Friday.
Lynne Spears told the Los Angeles jury in a civil trial that Sam Lutfi, Britney’s self-styled manager at the time, described his actions to her in a January 2008 exchange at her daughter’s Los Angeles home.
“Those were his exact words,” Lynne Spears said on her first day on the witness stand. “I was very worried and I didn’t know what to do so I tried to get her away from there.”
Lutfi is suing Lynne Spears for defaming him in her 2008 book “Through the Storm,” in which she related some of Lutfi’s actions in 2007 when he became the singer’s closest friend, and moved into her house.
Lynne Spears admitted under cross examination that she did not call police despite her concerns about her daughter.
She also acknowledged she had been estranged from her daughter for months in 2007, and that Lutfi told her he wanted to help reunite them.
Lynne Spears’ book also claims Lutfi tried to cut the singer off from her family, and portrays him as a figure who controlled her every move.
Lutfi, who met Spears in a nightclub in 2007 and has said he tried to wean her off drugs, testified tearfully earlier this week he received death threats after the book was published.
The week-long trial has lifted the lid on the much-publicized meltdown by Spears in 2007 and early 2008, in which she went through a divorce, lost custody of her two kids, shaved her head and wielded an umbrella at paparazzi.
Lutfi is also suing Spears for a portion of her earnings at that time, claiming the “Toxic” singer hired him as her manager.
Lutfi further alleges Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, punched him in the chest in 2008, during a period when the singer was twice held in a psychiatric ward in a Los Angeles hospital.
Jamie Spears was later named conservator of his daughter’s personal and business affairs, and the family took out restraining orders against Lutfi.
Spears, now 30, has since made a comeback with world tours hit albums and a new job as a judge on TV talent show “The X-Factor”. She is not expected to attend the trial.
Reporting By Jill Serjeant; editing by Todd Eastham