UPDATE 4:10 PM, Pacific — Britney Spears made a brief exit from court just moments ago. The pop singer stormed out of the courtroom in an agitated state. She was yelling, “Eat it! Lick it! Snort it! F*** it!”
Spears lawyers ran after her, as did her former assistant, Alli Sims, who is with her in court.
Britney then returned to the courtroom, sobbing.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (October 26, 2007) — Hollywood’s highest-profile custody case was back in court Friday, with Britney Spears arriving in her Mercedes convertible for a hearing to work out custody arrangements for her two young sons.
Her ex-husband Kevin Federline was also under court order to attend the Superior Court hearing.
Spears was spotted after arriving with a female companion and parking in an underground lot.
Earlier in the day, a lawyer for Spears won a motion to bar videotaping of deposition testimony in the case.
Spears’ lawyer, Thomas Paine Dunlap, argued that video of the depositions would almost certainly wind up on YouTube. He said his celebrity client had a right to be protected from that exposure.
Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon made his ruling in spite of his concern that she is constantly courting “inordinate amounts of media,” which he said runs counter to her expressed desire for privacy.
“I’m not chastising her,” Gordon said. “She’s an adult. But what I’m saying is someone who is always going to places where there is an inordinate amount of media, it doesn’t square.”
Dunlap countered that the pop star was not trying to create media attention.
“If she goes to Starbucks, there’s media there. If she goes shopping, there’s media there,” he said.
Attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan, who represents Federline, said his client wanted the depositions to be videotaped to preserve the demeanor of witnesses who testify during the closed sessions.
After the commissioner’s ruling, Kaplan asked that experts and other parties be allowed to be present to see how witnesses responded.
Gordon said he would allow two people to observe the witnesses.
During the afternoon hearing, a lawyer for Spears was expected to argue that she has complied with court orders and should regain the shared custody she lost earlier this month.
In an unusual twist, a special metal detector was installed outside the courtroom. Officials were confiscating cell phones from everyone entering the floor to prevent media, attorneys and spectators from taking pictures in the courtroom.
The process caused a backup of lawyers who had to empty brief cases for inspection.
During the morning hearing, Dunlap complained that he was being forced to do things he had never done before to get into a courtroom.
Gordon responded dryly, “This may be the manufacture of your client.”
Outside the courthouse, about 40 members of the media gathered more than two hours before the afternoon hearing was set to begin, and half a dozen satellite TV broadcast trucks lined the busy, downtown street.
Reporters and photographers snacked and chatted, trying to figure out which of the several courthouse entrances the celebrities might use.
Larry Mays, 59, stood among the crowd wearing a banner reading, “Ask Jesus to Save You Now.” He said he routinely stakes out court proceedings involving celebrities.
“The cameras help me get the message out,” he said.
Gordon has previously said there was evidence that Spears is a “habitual, frequent and continuous” user of drugs and alcohol, withdrew approval for her to even visit the children after finding she had failed to comply with some conditions for shared custody.
He later withdrew the ban and allowed her to visit Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1 — but only in the presence of a court-approved monitor.
The order by Gordon was tough and unambiguous.
Spears was to undergo random drug and alcohol tests and meet weekly with a parenting coach who would report back to the court about her parenting skills.
Spears and Federline also were prohibited from making derogatory remarks about each other in their children’s presence and from using “corporal punishment” to discipline them.
Both parents also were ordered to complete the court’s “Parenting Without Conflict” class.
The custody fight has played out on a public stage, with paparazzi and celebrity Web sites reporting on the former couple’s every move — including sightings of Spears driving with her sons and a monitor in Beverly Hills.