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Judge still suspends Britney's visitation rights
Britney Spears came to a courthouse Wednesday in cocktail party attire, stepped in the door and then bolted before for a hearing began that could have restored her right to visit her children.
Wearing bright pink lipstick, sunglasses, shiny gold platform shoes and a very short black dress with a ruffled hem, Spears was driven into an underground garage and then entered the downtown civil court building.
A court spokesman said she got through a security metal detector, then announced, "I want to leave," and returned to her car.
A lawyer for Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline said that behavior may have played a role in a Superior Court commissioner's decision that she would remain barred from seeing sons Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1.
"When you're trying to convince a judge that previous orders are not necessary, the court has to have the opportunity to observe, to hear from and to assess the demeanor of the person," attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan said later outside court.
Spears, 26, was not under orders to be at the hearing, which was not scheduled but resulted from both sides filing motions seeking to be heard.
When Commissioner Scott Gordon called the Spears case, her attorney, Anne Kiley, went out of the courtroom to try to find her. Kiley returned 20 minutes later and conceded she didn't know if Spears would attend.
Gordon went ahead with the hearing after reporters were ordered to leave the courtroom. Spears' lawyer argued that she be allowed visits and Federline, 29, was asked a few questions, said court spokesman Allan Parachini.
"I can't provide any more details except at the end of the day there was no change in the court order and Miss Spears has no visitation and no custody of the children," Parachini said.
Spears' attorney left without commenting to reporters and she did not return a call seeking comment.
Kaplan said the biggest questions in the custody case now have to do with the events of Jan. 3, when Spears refused to relinquish one of the children to a Federline bodyguard, police were called and she wound up being hauled off to a hospital by paramedics.
The day after that incident Gordon suspended Spears' visitation rights and gave full custody to Federline, who at that time had temporary custody.
"We know what happened that evening," Kaplan said. "But no one knows why it happened. For anyone to be comfortable that these orders should be modified we need to have a better understanding of why those events occurred. Nothing has allowed me to be closer to answering that question today."
The commissioner reiterated the orders last week at an emergency hearing. Spears came to the courthouse for that hearing but left without going into the building.
Kaplan said orders in the case do not preclude Spears from having limited contact with the children by telephone but he would not say how much she has been calling and talking to them.
Late Wednesday, Spears' attorneys withdrew a pending motion that had asked the court to allow them to no longer represent her in the case.