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Spears stripped of custody, visitation rights

January 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A court commissioner gave sole physical and legal custody of Britney Spears' two little boys Friday to ex-husband Kevin Federline and suspended the troubled pop star's visitation rights.Commissioner Scott Gordon issued a ruling the day after Spears was hauled away from her home by paramedics; police had to intervene when she refused to return the children to Federline after a court-monitored visit.

Britney Spears had locked herself in a bathroom Thursday night, defying a certified court order to end her evening visitation with her two sons and return the children to their father Kevin Federline. Six police cars, two ambulances and a fire truck had entered the gated-community that includes Spears' house.

The 26-year-old pop star was placed on a gurney and taken from her home.

Spears was taken to Cedars-Sinai Thursday night after ingesting an unknown substance during a three hour stand-off with police.

The commotion alarmed neighbors in the gated community, who say they have never seen anything like it.

"I guess it spices up life a little bit. This is a very different day than what we usually have at the Summit. It gets a little irritating always having cars around. The Summit security is always on alert. For me she has usually remained incognito and there is this one experience where she has gone nuts," said Karina Nahai, Britney Spears' neighbor.

TV crews and reporters surrounded Cedars-Sinai after the media frenzy heated up Thursday night.

It's a photo op that tells a dismissal story. Video shows paparazzi swarming an ambulance transporting Britney Spears to Cedars-Sinai. The trip followed a three-hour standoff at her Studio City home triggered by a custody dispute.

LAPD officers ordered Spears to the hospital for mental observation, concerned that her behavior posed a risk to her and her children.

LAPD reports she appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance.

The incident caps a day Spears dreaded. Earlier Thursday, she appeared for her deposition in the custody battle. After weeks of delays, Spears arrived nearly two hours late. She was questioned for just 14 minutes then left.

Spears' attorneys say they want to quit, citing a communication problem with the 26-year-old pop star.

Commissioner Gordon ordered another hearing to be held Jan. 14.

Federline had previously been awarded temporary custody of 2-year-old Sean Preston and 1-year-old Jayden James because Spears has defied court orders, resulting in limitations on her visitation.

"I'm not happy about any of these events," Federline attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan said when he left a closed-door emergency hearing Friday afternoon. "There's no winners here."

Federline was not in court for the hearing, Kaplan said.

The attorney had said he did not expect the ruling to be released until Monday, but it was issued shortly after the hearing concluded.

Child custody attorney Dean Masserman says that celebrity status can usually help in a case like this.

"Ms. Spears is making it very easy for Kevin Federline and his attorney's to go to court and say that she is not fit, not in control and is having a public breakdown and then they could ask for full custody," said Masserman.

Masserman says that this is a no win situation for the children.

"These children want to be with their mom. No matter how bad she is, no matter how many drugs and alcohol she has ingested they just want to be with their mom. They are hurting and they are the ones suffering," said Masserman.

Eyewitness News reporter Miriam Hernandez, Leslie Sykes, Rob Hayes and Associated Press reporter Sandy Cohen contributed to this report.


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