LA Court Extends Conservatorship of Britney Spears, Takes Steps To Make Her Assets Available

Published: Feb. 15, 2008 at 12:55 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2008 at 12:56 AM EST
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LOS ANGELES (AP) - The court extended the conservatorship of Britney Spears on Thursday, and took actions intended to give her father and a lawyer access to money in the pop singer's trust to cover her needs.

James Spears' temporary control over his daughter's life and estate will continue at least until a hearing on March 10, Superior Court Commissioner Reva Goetz said. At that time, she said, a court-appointed attorney also must submit an evaluation of Britney Spears' medical and psychological condition.

There was no mention of her condition since her latest release from a hospital.

After more than a year of bizarre behavior in which she divorced Kevin Federline and lost custody of her two young sons, Britney Spears was put in a psychiatric hospital twice in January and has been under a repeatedly extended temporary conservatorship since the beginning of February.

Attorney Jeryll Cohen, who represents James Spears, also told Goetz that investigators have spent more than 200 hours trying to locate the singer's sometime companion Sam Lutfi to serve him with a temporary restraining order issued in response to claims that he had taken virtual control of her life and even drugged her.

"We have made great effort to have Mr. Lutfi served," said Cohen. "We staked out his residence at the hospital. We did many things we do not want to discuss right now. We have information he is intentionally avoiding service."

Cohen asked that the order be reissued if it is not served in time for Lutfi to obtain counsel and appear for a Feb. 22 hearing. The commissioner agreed and said that when Lutfi does appear, she will order live testimony taken.

Goetz also granted a request to expand James Spears' powers as conservator to allow him to handle taxes on Britney Spears' assets and other matters.

Among numerous lawyers present were Andrew Wallet, who was appointed with the father as a co-conservator for her estate, and two attorneys representing Britney Spears' brother, Bryan.

Goetz granted an application by a law firm and Bryan Spears to be named temporary co-trustees of a trust established by Britney Spears in order for them to gain access to assets held in it.

Documents submitted to the court said Britney Spears set up the trust in 2004 with herself as the sole trustee and "all of Britney's liquid assets are vested in the trust."

As a result, the documents said, the co-conservators have been unable to access any liquid assets and her family members, friends and members of her household have been paying for her necessities.

"Immediate access to the trust's liquid assets is necessary to pay for Britney's security, and to pay for her medicine, food, other day-to-day expenses, and for psychiatric and other essential medical services," the papers said.