LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit by the one-time confidante of pop star Britney Spears, ruling there was insufficient evidence to go forward with the trial on allegations of defamation, assault and breach of contract.
“I really thought long and hard. It’s the right thing to do, so I am going to do it,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bruguera said, announcing her decision to throw out the case after hearing two weeks of evidence in the civil trial.
Bruguera’s ruling was a major victory for Spears and her family, despite damaging and sometimes humiliating testimony that lifted the lid on the singer’s controversial career and personal meltdown five years ago.
Sam Lutfi, the self-styled manager of the pop star for a brief period in 2007 and early 2008, had sued Spears’ mother, Lynne Spears, for defaming him in her 2008 book “Through the Storm.” Lynne Spears wrote that Lutfi controlled her daughter, cut her telephone lines and tried to cut the star off from her family.
Bruguera also dismissed claims filed by Lutfi against Spears. He said the singer hired him as her manager after they met in a nightclub in 2007, and he was entitled to a portion of her earnings.
Lutfi case against Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, was also thrown out. Lutfi alleged that Jamie Spears punched him in 2008 while the singer was in a Los Angeles psychiatric ward.
Lutfi, 38, said he would appeal the ruling.
Spears, 30, has since staged a comeback with world tours, hit albums and a new job as judge on Fox’s TV talent show “The X-Factor.” She did not attend the trial.
In testimony last week, Lutfi sobbed on the witness stand, saying he received death threats because of the villainous portrayal of him in the book. He also claimed he tried to get Spears off drugs and protect her from paparazzi photographers who hounded her day and night.
His most sensational claim was that Spears shaved her head in February 2007 because she feared her hair could be tested for drug use in her bitter child custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline.
Lutfi also told the court that he brought drug-sniffing dogs to her home and flushed a bag of white powder down the toilet.
Jamie Spears’ attorney told the court that his client was afraid that his daughter would die from drug abuse and believed that Lutfi was making her problems worse.
Lynne Spears testified that Lutfi crushed up drugs and put them into the singer’s food to help her sleep.
Spears’ meltdown led to her father’s conservatorship, which gives him legal control over her finances and health.
Editing by Jill Serjeant and Stacey Joyce