Britney Spears' former manager Sam Lufti blames amphetamines for breakdown
Britney Spears' former manager Sam Lufti has appeared in court for his libel lawsuit and blamed amphetamines for the singer's 2007 breakdown.
In his opening statements on October 18, Lufti claimed that Spears shaved her own head at a salon (watch video) in 2007, because she found out that drug use could be detected through a hair sample and she was worried about losing custody of her sons - 5-year-old Jayden James and 6-year-old Sean Preston.
Britney Spears has not commented on any of the claims made by Lufti, who served as her manager for eight months, starting in mid-2007. The 38-year-old is suing the pop star for 15 percent of her earnings, claiming they had an agreement at the time and that helped her with her 2007 album, "Blackout."
He is also suing her father Jaime Spears, claiming he punched him in the chest, and he is suing her mother Lynne Spears, for writing in her 2008 book "Through the Storm," that Lufti drugged and isolated Britney and that he used paparazzi as "henchmen."
Lufti claims that he befriended the paparazzi so that they would treat Spears with more respect. He claimed in court that he has been used as a scapegoat for Spears' breakdown and subsequent hospitalization and said that he was trying to keep the star from using drugs.
"My client was made a scapegoat for drug abuse and erratic behavior of Britney Spears," Lufti's attorney Joseph Schleimer told the jury on October 18, according to the Associated Press.
Lufti said that one of his first actions as manager was to bring drug-sniffing dogs to Spears' home, where they found what the singer told Lufti "was probably crystal meth."
Spears is not expected to appear in court, as the judge overseeing her conservatorship has ordered her not to appear in trial or a deposition. Lawyers for Spears' family and conservators will appear on the family's behalf, but Spears' parents, Jamie and Lynne, did appear in the court's audience at the trial.
Lufti filed the lawsuit in 2009, about a year after she was hospitalized and placed under conservatorship to control her health and finances. The move came after months of erratic behavior, where Spears shaved her head, spoke with a British accent and attacked paparazzi with an umbrella. The actions also led to the pop star losing custody of her two sons with ex-husband, Kevin Federline. She has since made a career comeback and the two now essentially share custody, but because Spears remains under conservatorship, she does have equal legal rights to the boys.
During the suit, Schleimer played a video from an evening in January 2008, where Spears was sitting on the curb outside of her Los Angeles home, while Lufti begged her to seek the help of a psychiatrist.
Lufti's official Twitter account describes him as "FALSELY accused of doing horrible things by horrible people. Love challenges eg: helped save the life of an incredible pop star -THE TRUTH."
Spears has been busy filming the upcoming second season of FOX's "The X Factor." It was announced on May 14 that Spears and Demi Lovato would join Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid on the reality singing competition's judging panel, replacing Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, who left the show in January.
Spears is also reportedly planning a wedding with her fiance Jason Trawick. A wedding date has not been announced for the couple, who became engaged on December 15. Trawick and Spears have been dating since the summer of 2009. Prior to that, the two had a professional relationship as Trawick was Spears' manager. The two ended their professional ties in May 2010 to "focus on their personal relationship." In April, Trawick became a co-conservator of Spears, along with her father Jaime.