LOS ANGELES (AP) — The man who presided over Britney Spears' life during her well-publicized meltdown has portrayed himself in court as a benevolent personal manager who saved her from ruin.

Sam Lutfi was to finish his direct testimony Wednesday and face cross-examination by a battery of lawyers for the singer's parents and conservators.

They are fighting a lawsuit by Lutfi, who claims he was defamed by Lynne Spears in her book about her daughter. He also says he was promised 15 percent of the millions of dollars Spears earned during their association.

Spears mother portrayed him as a Svengali-like figure preying on Britney's vulnerabilities.

Lutfi says he was actually a peacemaker, reuniting Spears with her parents after a long estrangement. He says she implored him to become her personal manager.