Britney, K-Fed Back in Court in Custody Case
LOS ANGELES – Britney Spears arrived in court giggling on Friday but was later heard swearing during a break in a closed hearing that ended with no decision on her bid for shared custody of her two young sons with Kevin Federline.
Lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan said the court was expected to issue a written ruling by Tuesday after extensive testimony was presented on a number of issues.
Spears did not comment after the hearing. Earlier, she uttered an epithet when a reporter asked how the proceedings were going.
Attorney Sorrell Trope, who represents Spears, said "something has changed, but I can't say what." He said Spears was pleased, but he declined further comment.
Each parent will have a day with the boys this weekend, Kaplan said during a short news conference.
The three-hour hearing was held before Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon, who previously said there was evidence that Spears is a "habitual, frequent and continuous" user of drugs and alcohol.
He had withdrawn approval for her to even visit the children after finding she had failed to comply with some conditions for shared custody.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.
Spears arrived at the courthouse on Friday eating cheese puffs in her white Mercedes-Benz convertible. She giggled when asked by reporters outside the courtroom if she was nervous.
She was escorted by sheriff's deputies and wore a black print dress and cowgirl boots. Her brown hair was lightly streaked with blonde highlights and she carried a large handbag.
Federline arrived a few minutes after Spears, wearing a gray pinstriped suit and an earring in his right ear.
Both were under court order to attend the proceedings.
They were asked to stand, raise their right hands and swear to tell the truth, which they did.
A few moments later, Gordon closed the hearing to the media at the request of Trope, who was expected to argue that Spears had complied with court orders and should regain the shared custody she lost earlier this month.
As Spears attempted to regain custody of her children, her mother, Lynne Spears, announced plans to write a book about raising her family in the glare of the media spotlight.
"Pop Culture Mom: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World" is set for release May 11, which is Mother's Day, said Curt Harding, a spokesman for Thomas Nelson Inc., a Christian book publisher. He did not release further details.
During a hearing earlier Friday, another lawyer for Spears won a motion to bar videotaping of deposition testimony in the case.
Attorney Thomas Paine Dunlap argued that video of the depositions would almost certainly wind up on YouTube.
Gordon made his ruling on that matter despite his concern that Spears 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.
Kaplan 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.
In preparation for the day's proceedings, a special metal detector was installed outside the courtroom. Officials confiscated cell phones from people arriving on 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 briefcases for inspection.
Dunlap complained in court 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 several hours before the afternoon hearing. A half-dozen satellite TV broadcast trucks lined the busy, downtown street.
The previous court 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.