Is Britney Spears Trying to End Her Father's Control?

04/01/2009 at 08:30 PM EDT

Is Britney Spears Trying to End Her Father's Control?
Sam Lutfi and Britney Spears in October 2007
INF
It seems Britney Spears's life has gone from soap opera to spy novel.

Sam Lutfi's younger sister Christina testified in a Los Angeles court Wednesday that she recently snuck a cell phone to the pop star at a Beverly Hills hotel – a plan allegedly hatched by Spears herself.

Spears, 27, whose phone access is strictly limited by her father Jamie, had initially called Sam's cell phone number in mid-January to speak with Christina.

"[Britney] told me she wanted to get a hold of Sam," said Christina, 25, whose brother had once been Spears's manager. "She wanted him to help her find a lawyer, and wanted someone to get a prepaid cell phone to her. She was scared because her father was blackmailing her with visitation rights over her kids."

Gym Redezvous

Spears allegedly told Christina to meet her on the fifth floor gym of the Peninsula Hotel on Jan. 16. When Christina arrived, Spears was working out with her mother while a bodyguard stood nearby. But they rendezvoused in a sauna where Christina gave her a phone, saying it was from Sam and ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, which Spears then hid in a locker. "She asked me, 'Will Sam be able to help me?'" Christina added.

The phone, however, was later discovered by Spears's security team and confiscated from her purse.

Earlier on Wednesday, Blair Berk, a lawyer for Jamie Spears, testified that Britney "was in such fear [of Sam], she asked if I could get him arrested, to keep him away from her." As for a purported recording of the pop star circulating the internet in which she allegedly asks for a lawyer's help in ending her father's legal control, Berk said the singer repeatedly denied she was seeking outside legal help. Berk also expressed doubt in the recording's authenticity.

Restraining Order at Issue

For more than a year, a probate court has ruled that Spears "lacks the capacity" to hire any lawyers on her own.

The ongoing hearing is to determine whether to extend a restraining order against Lutfi, 34, whom Britney's father alleges is harassing his daughter and is conspiring to disrupt his legal control over her life.

Lutfi's attorney, Bryan Freedman, has denied his client has committed any wrongdoing. "Sam's only crime was trying to help out a friend," Freedman tells PEOPLE. "When someone asks for your help, that person is obviously not scared of you or in need of a restraining order."

Jamie Spears and a lawyer were granted indefinite legal control over the singer following her two forced hospitalizations in early 2008. Their authority will end only after the singer proves to a court – backed by doctors' opinions – that she can handle her own affairs.

Closing arguments in the restraining order case will be heard on April 21. Lutfi is forbidden to have contact with her until then.

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