Britney Spears finally sat down for her long-awaited deposition in her child-custody battle on Thursday (January 3) — but she cut the session short, leaving after less than 15 minutes of questioning. Meanwhile, the singer also finally got a trial date in her misdemeanor driving case.
The pop star was scheduled to start her deposition at 9:45 a.m. but didn’t leave her home until after 10 a.m., according to photos and video taken of her drive to her ex-husband’s lawyer’s offices in Century City, California. By the time Spears arrived, she was 90 minutes late, and proceedings didn’t start until just after 11:30 a.m., according to Mark Vincent Kaplan, Kevin Federline’s attorney. Despite the late start, Spears didn’t stay long — she was videotaped by TMZ exiting the building shortly before noon with her new assistant and driving off in her white Mercedes.
“I would’ve preferred it had gone on longer,” Kaplan told reporters waiting outside the deposition. Kaplan was expected to ask the pop star, who he called “cooperative,” about her alleged drug and alcohol use around the couple’s two sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James, as well as her driving habits and parenting techniques. Whether he got the answers he sought, he wouldn’t say, except to offer, “You can imagine in 14 minutes there’s not a lot of time to develop questions.”
Kaplan told reporters that Spears gave a reason for being late, but he did not say what that reason was. He said they would continue the deposition at a later date, which he also did not specify. Kaplan also wouldn’t say whether he was going to seek sanctions against Spears for being late to the deposition.
Kaplan has already completed depositions with several former Spears associates, including manager Larry Rudolph, assistant Alli Sims and bodyguard Daimon Shippen. According to court papers filed Wednesday, five more people are scheduled to be deposed throughout January, including former Spears bodyguard Anthony Barretto (who claimed the singer had drug and nudity issues around her kids post-rehab ), former bodyguard Lonni Jones (who sued the singer in 2006 for unpaid overtime), former day-to-day manager Adam Leber, friend and actress Christina Cindrich, and Ashley Chapman.
Spears’ attorneys, who asked the court Wednesday to be withdrawn from the matter , continued to represent her through Thursday’s brief deposition, since they remain her legal counsel until the judge in the custody case grants their motion. A hearing about the motion is set for February 4, while the next custody hearing is scheduled for February 19.
Spears will be back in court for a separate matter on January 25 — regarding a misdemeanor driving charge stemming from a hit-and-run accident in August . She faces up to a year of probation if she’s convicted of the charge of driving without a valid license, to which she pleaded not guilty. (The hit-and-run charge was dismissed.) On Wednesday, the same day she was originally scheduled to give her deposition this week (before rescheduling for Thursday), Spears’ attorney in this matter was defending the singer in a Van Nuys courtroom, at which point the case was ordered to be continued for trial. Unlike for her deposition, she won’t be able to be a no-show as easily — she’s ordered by the court to appear.