A restraining order against the man who has been at Britney Spears’ side during her downward spiral portrayed him as a Svengali figure who held the singer a virtual hostage in her home, drugged her, took over her finances and controlled the ravenous paparazzi “like a general”.
The order against 33-year-old Sam Lutfi was based on a lengthy declaration from Spears’ mother, Lynne, who says they met in October 2007, when he “essentially moved into Britney’s home and has purported to take control of her life, home and finances”.
Lynne Spears’ account of a long, chaotic night at Britney’s home depicted a drugged and confused pop star being led around by Mr Lutfi, who was setting up pictures for the paparazzi even as she was spinning out of control.
The documents released by the court yesterday ordered Mr Lutfi to stay away from Spears, her homes, her parents and siblings’ homes and the hospital where she is confined for psychiatric tests.
On Monday, Mr Lutfi said: “I have no problems with anyone writing anything negative against me. My image is not of concern, hers is.” He has not responded to further press inquiries.
Lynne Spears said in the order that Mr Lutfi “drugged Britney, he has cut Britney’s home phone lines and removed her cell phone chargers. He yells at her. He claims to control everything – Britney’s business manager, her attorneys and the security guards at the gate”.
Much of the six-page declaration centres on the night of January 28, just a few days before Spears was whisked by police and ambulance to a hospital psychiatric ward. Her mother outlined increasingly bizarre behaviour through the night, and said her daughter asked at one point: “When do I get to see my babies?” to which Mr Lutfi answered: “Wednesday.”
Spears has been in court with ex-husband Kevin Federline over custody of their two small children, one-year-old Jayden and two-year-old Sean. She lost visitation rights last month after refusing to hand them back to their father.
Lynne Spears described a harrowing night that stretched into the small hours when she, her husband and a friend went to Britney’s home because they’d heard she was crying after a fight with Mr Lutfi. Once inside, Lynne Spears said she was told by Mr Lutfi that her daughter was afraid to see her father and only wanted her mother in the house.
Lynne Spears also said there were several photographers present, who deferred to Mr Lutfi. “The paparazzi reported to Sam and addressed him with great respect,” she said. “They treated him like a general.”
She said that during the evening, “Sam had told Britney she was an unfit mother, a piece of trash and a whore, that she cares more about Adnan (Ghalib), her current boyfriend, than she cares about her kids and that she does not deserve her kids”.
She said at one point, Mr Lutfi told her: “You’d better learn that I control everything,” said he was the one giving Britney her medications and, “he told me if he weren’t in the house to give Britney her medicine, she would kill herself”.
She also claimed Mr Lutfi threatened her, saying: “Then he said to me, ’If you try to get rid of me, she’ll be dead and I’ll p*** on her grave’.”
Lynne Spears described various medications in the house and said Mr Lutfi told her he ground them up and put them in Britney’s food to keep her quiet.
Later that evening, she said Britney decided she needed to go to a store for lipsticks. Before they left the house, Mr Lutfi took Britney upstairs and said he gave her something “to make her more lighthearted, happy and fun”.
At the store, she said chaos ensued when Britney’s credit card did not work and she started speaking with a British accent.
The manager offered to let them leave by a side entrance to elude the photographers, but she said Mr Lutfi insisted they leave through the front door, then put his arms around Britney and Lynne so the paparazzi could take pictures.
A judge has put Spears’ father in control of her personal and financial affairs until February 14 while she is evaluated.
The singer’s child custody case, meanwhile, has been continued until February 19.