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Media barred as Britney seeks court order

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A judge has cleared a Los Angeles courtroom of media and other audience members at a hearing on the extension of a restraining order obtained by pop star Britney Spears against a former associate.

Lawyers for Spears and her father argued media reports of private details that would be revealed would bring emotional harm to the singer.

Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny agreed and cleared the courtroom for the testimony of three witnesses, including Spears' father Jamie Spears, who controls most of the 37-year-old singer's affairs.

Jamie Spears had reportedly been in such poor health in recent months that his daughter put her career on hold to be with him, but there were no outward signs of illness as he appeared in court on Tuesday.

The hearing was to seek an extension of a temporary restraining order against Sam Lutfi, a former Britney Spears confidante. The family has been in legal fights with him for a decade, including a 2009 restraining order.

The new order issued May 8 demands Lutfi stay at least 183m from Britney Spears, her parents and her two sons, and to refrain from contacting them.

Lutfi, 44, states in papers that he had not contacted Britney Spears in 10 years, and her lawyers had not shown he did her harm.

Lutfi acknowledged in documents he had sent several text messages to Britney Spears' mother Lynne and called her once.

He has been critical on social media of the conservatorship that has left the singer under the control of the court and her father for 11 years, adding his voice to a chorus of her fans who want her "freed" from the arrangement.

© AP 2019

Image: Glenn Francis [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]