Grab popcorn! The Los Angeles defamation lawsuit of the decade is underway. In one corner stands mother of the ex-Mrs. Popozao, Lynne Spears. In the other corner slinks Sam “I was Britney’s manager during breakdown-gate” Lufti.
Here’s the libel lowdown:
- In 2008, Britney Spears’ mother, Lynne, wrote a book called “Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World.”
- In 2009, Sam Lufti sued over accounts in the book that he allegedly tried to manipulate Britney.
- Last month a judge ruled that Britney couldn’t testify at the trial, on account of her conservatorship.
- Jury selection started, in a Los Angeles court room, on Friday.
The Specific Accusations In This Los Angeles Defamation Lawsuit
Accusations of manipulative behavior and using the paparazzi as “henchmen” prompted Lufti’s suit. Apparently, Lynne’s book painted Britney’s then-manager as a money hungry opportunist who isolated and cajoled her fragile daughter. Essentially, Lynne blamed Sam for Britney’s infamous public meltdown.
Lufti Claims Libel
Lufti denies Lynne’s claims and insists he always had Brit’s best interests in mind. The accusations, Lufti asserts, “subjected [him] to unfathomable amounts of ridicule and public scorn.”
The Role “Actual Malice” Will Play In This Los Angeles Defamation Lawsuit
The Lufti v. Spears celebrity defamation kerfuffle will definitely involve discussions of actual malice. Why? Because Britney, Lynne, and arguably Sam (since he thrust himself into the spotlight) are all public figures. Ever since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a groundbreaking case, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, that public figures, in defamation lawsuits, must prove their adversaries either a) acted with reckless disregard for the truth or b) purposefully lied to cause material or reputational damage. As Spears’ lawyer put it, “the burden is on Lutfi to prove that the statements in the book are untrue and that his client knew they were false.”
This Los Angeles defamation case is expected to take about three weeks.
Update: The judge threw the case out! Looks like Lufti lost this Los Angeles defamation lawsuit.