LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A former bodyguard for Britney Spears offered on Monday to testify at a custody hearing about nudity and drug use at her home and his fears for the safety of her two young sons.
Gloria Allred, the lawyer for bodyguard Tony Barretto, said outside the courthouse that she was shocked that her client was not questioned by the attorneys in the case and that, instead, Barretto’s comments were filed with the court as what she described as evidence.
The pop star and her ex-husband Kevin Federline are battling over custody of their sons.
Barretto, 28, said in a court filing that he worked for Spears from the time she left a rehabilitation clinic in March until May 17, 2007, and that he watched her behavior in and out of the house.
“Our client was prepared to testify on issues of nudity by Ms. Spears, drug use, and safety issues involving the children post-rehab,” Allred said.
Federline’s attorney, Mark V. Kaplan, said it was not unusual for lawyers to decline questioning a surprise witness. “Sometimes lawyers don’t like cross-examining when they don’t know what the extent of the answers will be,” said Kaplan.
Kaplan did not discuss what went on inside the hearing, but told reporters his client was not seeking more money from Spears. Kaplan said a new custody hearing would likely come in mid-November. An exact date was not yet available.
Meanwhile, Spears’ attorney Laura Wasser was replaced by Mel Goldman of Los Angeles law firm Freid and Goldman. Goldman gave no reason for the change, and Wasser did not talk to reporters after leaving court.
In yet another development, the Web site for celebrity TV show “Entertainment Tonight” posted a story citing unnamed sources as saying the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into death threats against Federline.
A spokeswoman for the FBI said that the agency had received “non-specific and uncorroborated” information about such a threat and had passed the information to local police. She said the agency investigates such matters routinely.
Los Angeles police confirmed that in June they investigated a claim that someone tried to arrange a contract killing on Federline, but the report was never proven. The case was closed.