A judge on Thursday issued a five-year restraining order forbidding Britney Spears' former manager from contacting the singer or her family or making disparaging statements about them online. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny reached the decision after hearing testimony from the ex-manager, 44-year-old Sam Lutfi, and from Spears' father, Jaime Spears, who has controlled his daughter's money and affairs via a court-ordered conservatorship for 11 years. Spears and his lawyers suggested, and Penny appeared to agree, that Lutfi has attempted to incite fans who have used the social-media hashtag #Free Britney to criticize the control James Spears and the court have had over the pop star for the past 11 years, reports the AP.
James Spears conceded under questioning that "me and my daughter's relationship has always been strained." But in further testimony that Penny said she found forthright and credible, Spears testified that Lutfi, who was close to Britney Spears in 2007 and 2008 and served briefly as her manager, has been a "predator" on his family for more than a decade whose harassment has recently resumed. "I worried that he was trying to take down the conservatorship," Spears said from the stand. "I was very angry." Lutfi's Twitter account, the subject of much of the testimony, consists almost entirely of posts critical of Britney Spears' circumstances and those surrounding her. His lawyer argued that none of the statements were made directly to individuals or could be considered harassment and emphasized that Lutfi has made no direct contact with Britney Spears herself.
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