Court Extends Britney Spears' Conservatorship; Father in Charge Through End of Year

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Britney Spears will remain under her father's care for a few more months, but she may ring in 2009 on her own terms.

James Spears' control over his pop star daughter's life was extended through the end of the year Thursday by Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner Reva Goetz. The arrangement could end sooner; Goetz scheduled an update on Spears' progress for the end of October.

Since February, James Spears has controlled all aspects of his daughter's personal and financial affairs. He was granted that power after months of erratic behavior by Spears that resulted in two hospitalizations.

Goetz said Thursday that Spears is "reluctantly agreeing" to the extension of her father's control. She did not elaborate and attorneys declined comment after the hearing.

There have been signs in recent days that Spears' condition is improving. Last week, she settled a long-running dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline, which allows her additional visits with her young sons.

Through an attorney, Spears on Wednesday renounced her friendship with former companion Sam Lutfi, who was a fixture through Spears' most turbulent period.

"Britney has made clear to everyone that she does not want to be further harassed or contacted in any way by Osama 'Sam' Lutfi, now or at anytime in the future," Spears' attorney Samuel D. Ingham III said Wednesday in a statement.

Ingham said the conservatorship gave James Spears adequate authority to keep Lutfi away, and that Britney Spears would take "appropriate legal action" if he tried to contact her. Spears' mother, Lynne, has accused Lutfi in court documents of taking over her daughter's life and finances and drugging her.

Lutfi declined comment, saying only that he and James Spears had reached an agreement that a temporary restraining order against him was no longer necessary. Lutfi had been made out to be a "tabloid villain" and is a "good guy," former spokesman Michael Sands wrote in an e-mail.

Neither Spears nor her father appeared in court Thursday.

Professionally, Spears has shown signs of restarting her career this year, making two successful TV cameos and working on a new album this summer.

Goetz scheduled a hearing for August to try to resolve how to pay attorneys who have worked on behalf of Spears in recent months.

The decision to continue the conservatorship also prolongs any resolution to a misdemeanor driving without a license charge. That case is on hold until Spears is deemed healthy enough to participate.