Kamis, 03 Januari 2008

Brit Sits, at Last, for Deposition (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) - Miracles do happen. Or maybe the prospect of losing another set of high-powered custody attorneys has finally scared some legal sense into Britney Spears.

Whatever the reason, the longtime deposition dodger showed up Thursday morning at the Los Angeles law offices of Kevin Federlines attorney to submit, at long last, to a legal grilling in her ongoing child custody battle.

The 26-year-old showed up with her current (at least for now) legal point man, Sorrell Trope, by her side.

But things went downhill from there.

While Spears did technically appear for the deposition at the offices of Mark Vincent Kaplan, she arrived at 11:32 a.m., almost two hours later than the scheduled 9:45 a.m. start time. As a result, Kaplan was left with just 14 minutes in which to fire off his questions to Spears before stopping at 11:45 a.m., the agreed-upon end time.

I wouldve preferred it had gone on longer, Kaplan said in one of many understatements to reporters outside his office, adding that at least Spears was, during her brief time in his office, cooperative.

Asked if he was able to get all the information he was seeking, Kaplan quipped, In 14 minutes? No, I wasnt.

The attorney said that another deposition appointment had been set, though he did not disclose when the session would be taking place. He also said the singer did give a reason for her tardiness, but he declined to elaborate.

Ushered by a bodyguard, Spears climbed into her Mercedes and drove away without addressing the press following the interview.

The nano-depo comes a day after Spears bailed on a scheduled sit-down with Kaplan, prompting Trope and his firm to file paperwork seeking to be relieved as Spears counsel.

Avoiding interrogations is a familiar theme for the mother of two.

Spears also bowed out of four previously scheduled depositions with Kaplan. Following her no-show on Dec. 12, the Gimme More singer chalked up her absence to anxiety and physical illness, two afflictions that didnt seem to affect her later in the day, when paparazzi snapped her at a gas station and the Beverly Hills Four Seasons.

At a subsequent emergency hearing, Kaplan blasted Spears for yet again disrespecting court orders.

Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon agreed. He canceled a planned custody hearing set to take place this month--keeping Federline as the primary custodian of sons Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1--and ordered Spears to sit for the depo during the first week of January...or else.

Assuming Thursdays testimony-taking goes off without a hitch--or anxiety attack--the next hearing in the custody dispute is set for Feb. 19, when Spears is expected to ask for a modified custody arrangement. She is only allowed to see the boys a few times a week and only with a court-appointed monitor.

Kaplan was expected to quiz Spears on her fitness as a parent, her past drug use, her series of erratic and often foot-flattening turns behind the wheel and various other aspects of her life that may affect her ability to parent her sons.

He has already queried several Spears compatriots, including sidekick Alli Sims, former manager Larry Rudolph and former bodyguard Daimon Shippen.

Its unclear if Spears newfound willingness to be deposed will clear up what Trope characterized as a breakdown in communication behind his firms request to be excused from the case. Gordon has yet to approve the petition, and Trope may yet withdraw the filing.

Trope declined to talk to reporters following Spears deposition.

In other Spears legal developments, her trial on misdemeanor vehicle infraction for driving without a license, which was also scheduled to take place Wednesday, has since been postponed to Jan. 25.

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