Spears arrives for court hearing but doesn’t stay

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

She came, she saw, she bailed out.

So it was with Britney Spears’ first scheduled court appearance since she was taken from her Studio City home and temporarily hospitalized at the direction of Los Angeles police.

Spears traveled today to the civil courthouse downtown, where Commissioner Scott M. Gordon was hearing testimony in the child custody battle for her two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline.

But after circling the courthouse, Spears stopped, got out of her black sport utility vehicle and surveyed the crowd of cameras and reporters, then got back in and apparently headed home.

Federline, wearing a pinstriped suit and a Mohawk, sat through the morning testimony and returned for the afternoon session.

In the afternoon, court officials released a new order from Gordon that extended his ban on Spears’ visiting with her two young sons until at least Feb. 19, when the matter is due to be heard in court again.

Court officials said six witnesses, including two officers called to Spears’ home Jan. 3, testified today. They would not discuss specifics.

Security was abnormally tight for the hearing. Deputies set up a metal detector on the eighth floor of the downtown courthouse and required reporters to hand over their cellphones before going into the courtroom. But the hearing was immediately closed.

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