Britney Spears is in the hospital, but her lawyers are in court after the singer’s ex-husband Kevin Federline called an emergency hearing in the couple’s custody case on Friday (January 4).
Mark Vincent Kaplan, Federline’s lawyer, asked for the hearing following a dispute that occurred at the singer’s home Thursday night, during which she refused to turn over their young sons to Federline, the police were called to the house, and she was placed under observation at a local hospital.
Though Spears’ attorneys at the firm Trope and Trope asked on Wednesday to be withdrawn from the high-profile custody case, they are still her counsel on record until the judge hears that motion (a hearing for which was originally scheduled to take place February 4). Accordingly, Trope associate Tara Scott showed up to represent Spears at the emergency hearing, which was held in the judge’s chambers. Before Scott went in chambers, she was overheard telling Kaplan, “It was a long night.” (Kaplan was also at the hospital Thursday night, his spokesperson confirmed to reporters at the courthouse.)
Kaplan was expected to ask Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon to amend Spears’ visitation rights — either by limiting them or by adding new restrictions. Spears currently has a slew of restrictions, including supervised visitations , random drug testing, individual counseling, co-parenting counseling with Federline, parenting coaching and a Parenting Without Conflict program.
After just over 20 minutes inside, Kaplan and Scott left the judge’s chambers at 9 a.m., at which point they were to return at 1:30 p.m., according to Gordon; Kaplan declined reporters’ requests for comment. At 1:45, the lawyers returned to the courtroom, with the judge following seven minutes later, at which point, the media were ejected from the proceedings.
“[Kaplan] feels at this time it’s inappropriate for him to speak to the media,” Michael Sands, the lawyer’s rep, said. As for Kaplan’s state of mind, Sands offered, “He’s fine. He’s a real pro.” Sands declined to speculate on Federline’s state of mind.
Contacted Friday morning by “Access Hollywood,” Spears’ mother, Lynne Spears, asked that fans “just say prayers” for her troubled daughter.
According to Los Angeles police spokesperson Officer Ana Aguirre, Spears will not be charged in connection with the custody dispute. She told The Associated Press that “there was no actual crime that was involved.” She also disputed earlier reports that Spears was under the influence when police arrived at her hilltop mansion Thursday night. “Our understanding is that was not the case,” she told AP.
[This story was originally published on 1.4.08 at 12:38 p.m ET]