After months of court wrangling, Britney Spears was scheduled to go under oath and have her deposition taken Wednesday morning (December 12), according to TMZ.com, but at press time she had failed to show up for the meeting.
The singer was reportedly scheduled to appear at the Los Angeles offices of Mark Vincent Kaplan, lawyer for her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, along with her lawyers, Anne Kiley and Tara Scott, but an hour after the proceedings were slated to begin, TMZ reported that Spears was a no-show. Kaplan told the site that the singer was suffering from an undisclosed illness that prevented her from attending the deposition.
Neither Kaplan nor Spears' main attorney in the case, Sorrell Trope, could be reached for comment at press time. The development doesn't come as a complete surprise — Spears showed up late to a hearing in October.
Kaplan did not say when another deposition might happen, but according to People.com, a new, yet-undisclosed day has been set. The site also reports that Kaplan will pursue a court sanction against the singer for failing to show up for the deposition. Spears' lawyers were expected to raise objections during the proceeding, during which Kaplan was reportedly ready to ask questions related to child custody and spousal support.
People.com reported on Tuesday that Spears was also expected to be grilled about her past drug and alcohol use, her alleged failure to follow court orders and any other issues that relate to her fitness as a mother. Kaplan has already deposed a number of members of Spears' inner circle, including friend Alli Sims, former manager Larry Rudolph and ex-bodyguard Daimon Shippen.
In late October, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon ruled that depositions will not be videotaped. Gordon made the ruling despite the efforts of Kaplan, who wanted to use the deposition as evidence to convince the court why Federline should get primary custody of the couple's children. Spears' lawyer Thomas Dunlap argued that if the deposition were videotaped, a potential leak to the media could cause Spears "undue embarrassment," and Gordon agreed. Gordon had told attorneys on both sides to work out a date for the deposition.
Following the October court date, Spears' and Federline's lawyers debated many other issues at subsequent court meetings throughout the month of November. Federline petitioned the court to prevent the singer from driving with the couple's two children, Sean Preston and Jayden James, following a series of public driving mishaps — a request Gordon granted; although, on a more positive note, the couple's lawyers agreed on a child-custody holiday schedule.
Also in November, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services requested that the agency be granted full access to all files in the couple's custody case.
[This story was originally published at 2:48 pm ET on 12.12.2007]