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Lawyer in Britney Spears case loses appeal

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California court on Monday denied an attorney’s bid to challenge an order that gave control of troubled pop star Britney Spears’ personal and business affairs to her father, Jamie Spears.

Britney Spears drives her Mercedes Benz as she leaves the Stanley Mosk Courthouse garage after a child custody hearing with her ex-husband regarding her two sons in Los Angeles, California October 26, 2007. A California court on Monday denied an attorney's bid to challenge an order that gave control of troubled pop star Britney Spears' personal and business affairs to her father, Jamie Spears. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

But attorney Jon Eardley vowed to continue his battle on behalf of the 26-year-old singer, saying he will now challenge the conservatorship order on two key issues.

A three-judge panel of California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals said on Monday an appeal to the overall conservatorship granted to Jamie Spears cannot be heard because “granting letters of temporary conservatorship is specifically excluded from those orders made appealable” under California law.

However, Eardley said in a statement he will petition for a rehearing on grounds that two specific orders -- the inability of a conservatee to bind the estate and the inability of the conservatee to choose her own counsel -- can be appealed.

On March 11, Eardley filed his initial challenge to the conservatorship that put Jamie Spears and lawyer Andrew Wallet in charge of the singer’s affairs. Wallet and Spears were made co-conservators by a California court in early February, and the order now extends to July 31.

Britney Spears, 26, has seen her life spiral out of control since her November 2006 breakup with ex-husband Kevin Federline. She has been in rehab, lost custody of her two sons and in January was taken to two Los Angeles-area hospitals where she was put under psychiatric evaluation.

In recent weeks, however, Spears seems to have been on the mend, and will appear on Monday in U.S. television show, “How I Met Your Mother.”

Sam Lutfi, the self-styled manager who was Spears’ constant companion through much of 2007 has had a temporary restraining order issued against him to keep him away from Spears. That order remains in place until April 16.

Lutfi and Eardley are both represented by the same Los Angeles-based spokesman, Michael Sands, but Sands has not disclosed any connection between them.

Eardley said in a court filing that Britney Spears hired him in a telephone conversation.

In February, Eardley tried to move the conservatorship case from state court to federal court, where he believed he might obtain legal standing.

But a federal judge ruled he could not represent Spears because at the time he said he had been hired, Spears had no legal authority to hire a lawyer.

Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Todd Eastham