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Spears' mom targets controlling friend

Documents say singer's manager put drugs in her food, hid her dog.

February 06, 2008|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

Britney Spears' friend and manager exerted near-total control over the singer, cutting her phone lines, taking away her cellphone chargers, disabling her vehicles and grinding up pills to place in her food, Spears' mother alleges in a restraining order she sought against the man.

Sam Lutfi also allowed paparazzi to parade through the singer's kitchen and hid Spears' dog from her, Lynne Spears alleges.

Lynne Spears said Lutfi told her, "You'd better learn that I control everything."

The restraining order, approved Friday and released by the court Tuesday, bars Lutfi from coming within 250 yards of the singer. Its public release provided the latest bit of drama in the decline of the pop star, who is at UCLA Medical Center on a two-week psychiatric hold. Her father and an attorney have been granted temporary conservatorship over Spears and her estate.

According to sources, a grand theft report was filed by Spears' father, Jamie Spears, after the singer's removal Friday to the medical center. The report alleges that paintings, jewelry and other valuables were taken from his daughter's Coldwater Canyon home. A limited number of people had access to the home in that period, sources said.

Lutfi, 33, could not be reached for comment. Lutfi's first name was listed on the restraining order as Osama. According to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, a restraining order was issued under that name in 2004.

Lynne Spears, in a declaration filed in support of the restraining order, alleges that Lutfi "essentially moved into Britney's home and has purported to take control of her life, home and finances.

"He yells at her. He claims to control everything -- Britney's business manager, her attorneys and the security guards at the gate," the filing alleges.

In the document, Lynne Spears describes the night of Jan. 28, when she and a friend attempted an intervention on her daughter.

Lutfi was there, but Britney was out, Lynne Spears says. Two or three paparazzi entered the kitchen; in the course of the conversation, Lynne Spears said she learned that Lutfi had sent Britney away with another paparazzo to avoid their visit.

Eventually, Lutfi instructed the paparazzi to get Britney back to the house, Lynne Spears says.

"The paparazzi reported to Sam and addressed him with great respect. They treated him like a general," she writes in her declaration.

Lutfi told them that he ground up the pop singer's sleeping pills and anti-psychotic medication and put them in her food, Lynne Spears says in the document. He said if he weren't around to give Britney her medication, she would kill herself, Lynne Spears alleges.

Spears eventually returned with her current boyfriend Adnan, also a paparazzo, who left shortly afterward, the document says.

Adnan at some point called Lynne Spears and told her that Lutfi hides Spears' dog, London, from her. "She looks for him all over the house crying and then Sam brings out the dog from the hiding place and acts like her savior," her mother wrote in her declaration.

Lutfi and Spears went upstairs. When the singer came back down, her mother alleges, she "became very agitated and could not stop moving. . . . Britney spoke to me in a tone and a level of understanding of a very young girl."

The singer cleaned the house, changed her dogs' clothing several times and repeatedly asked to see "her babies," Lynne Spears says. Lutfi told her she had to take her pills if she wanted to see her two young sons, Lynne Spears alleges.

At this point it was past midnight, but at Spears' insistence, her mother and Lutfi accompanied the singer to a Rite Aid to buy lipstick, the declaration says. During the trip, Britney went "in and out" of her British accent, her mother says.

Tabloids have been reporting for months on Spears' erratic behavior, including the British accent and shaving her head.

Lutfi insisted they leave the drugstore through the front door, then put his arms around mother and daughter so the paparazzi could take pictures, the mother says.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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