Court denies gag order in Spears case
EmptyA lawyer for Britney Spears was turned down Tuesday in a bid for a gag order on attorneys in the pop star's child-custody dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline.
Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon rejected the request after attorney Anne Kiley argued that media coverage was "emotionally and physically" dangerous to Spears.
Federline's attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, contended that the absence of a gag order doesn't leave Spears' children in jeopardy and that Spears is more concerned about the paparazzi frenzy that follows her.
Kaplan noted that the paparazzi swarms existed before Spears filed for divorce in November 2006.
Neither Spears nor Federline were present at the hearing.
Spears has not been allowed to see sons Jayden James, 1, and Sean Preston, 2, since an incident at her home that led to the first of her two hospitalizations in a psychiatric facility this year and a decision by another court to put her father, James Spears, in charge of her affairs.
Outside court, Kaplan told reporters that Federline would like the singer to see her children.
"Both sides want to see the day that visitation can resume. It's a question of working out the details of how that can happen," said Kaplan. "Mr. Federline looks forward to his children having their mom in their life."
The gag order request was discussed in open court before other issues were taken behind closed doors.
Kiley said she wanted a "narrowly tailored" order that would only restrict attorneys from speaking to the media.
Kaplan, who frequently speaks to reporters outside the courthouse after hearings, told Gordon he only summarizes what went on in court when the commissioner allows it and he never discusses the children's whereabouts or schedules.
Kiley also argued that media vehicles and cameras outside the courthouse were "distressing because of other people trying to use the courthouse."
"And you think this order would fix that?" asked Gordon.
"I think the First Amendment is important but this is about the practical aspects of the case," said Kiley.
The commissioner said the public has a right to know court orders. He agreed that public safety and access to the courthouse was a concern but "that's a law enforcement issue."
Kaplan said he hoped things will be different now that the conservatorship is in place because there will be "no pre-leaking of information to favored media outlets as to where they (Spears and companions) are going and how they will get there."