It might be a new year, but if you thought Britney Spears would be making a clean break from '07, think again. On Wednesday (January 2), the singer went through another lawyer shake-up when her legal team asked to withdraw itself as her counsel.
Sorrell Trope, a partner at the law firm Trope and Trope, confirmed to MTV News that he filed a motion requesting permission from Los Angeles Superior Court to withdraw as her counsel. The papers filed Wednesday also reveal that five more people are slated to be deposed in January — including former Spears bodyguard Anthony Barretto — and that a child-custody evaluation hearing has been scheduled for April 9-10. The next Spears/Federline hearing is slated for February 19.
"There has been a breakdown in communications between [Spears] and Trope and Trope making further representation of her interests impossible," the motion said.
The firm has yet to get a response from the court.
But Spears' problems don't end there. According to TMZ.com, the singer didn't show yet again for a scheduled deposition, which had been set for Wednesday. In December, Spears missed a planned deposition, claiming she was suffering from an undisclosed ailment. She was later ordered to be deposed in the case during the first week of January, although the exact date had not been revealed.
TMZ previously reported that if Spears were not to show up for the January deposition, the next hearing in the custody case would not take place until February 19, which will give Mark Vincent Kaplan, lawyer for her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, time to review Spears' testimony about her fitness as a parent. A custody hearing that had been set to take place January 23, at which Spears' lawyers were expected to petition the court to reinstate her custody rights, was postponed after Spears' absence at the December deposition.
As for the expected exit of Trope and Trope, it's hardly a first for Spears when it comes to her evolving legal counsel. In September, her divorce attorney Laura Wasser threw in the towel, after which she found new representation in Freid & Goldsman and then Trope and Trope.
[This story originally published at 8:18 p.m. ET on 01.02.2008]