LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Opening arguments began Wednesday in the trial of Courtney Love, who was accused of defaming a former attorney on the social media site Twitter.

Rhonda Holmes and the San Diego-based law firm Gordon & Holmes filed a lawsuit against Love in May 2011 after the singer-actress allegedly tweeted in June 2010 that Holmes was “bought off”.

The firm represented the 49-year-old from Dec. 2008 to May 2009 after she claimed attorneys, accountants and others allegedly stole money and property from her late husband, Kurt Cobain.

Love allegedly objected when one of the firm’s members reportedly asked her to refrain from using substances during their representation and later fired them, according to the suit. Love asked the firm’s attorneys for help after she was unhappy with her new lawyers and the firm declined, which angered her, according to the law firm’s complaint.

Love agreed to settle the case for $600,000 and issue a retraction, according to a sworn declaration by Holmes, but even after the firm conceded to extend the deadline, she failed to comply.

“Instead, Love went onto the `Howard Stern Show’ and claimed on-air that she had paid $600,000 to settle the case and then republished her defamatory comments,” according to Holmes.

Love began her testimony in the case on Wednesday.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Mitchell Langberg, told CBS2’s Randy Paige outside of court the singer should be held accountable.

“Just because have you a printing press now literally in your pocket, and you have the same kind of circulation as a major newspaper has, doesn’t mean that because you are an individual you have some sort of free pass,” he said.

The attorney defending Love in the case, John Lawrence, declined an on-camera interview.

However, off-camera Lawrence characterized the case as “mercenary”.

“No one would have known or heard of this alleged defamatory statement had plaintiffs not brought this lawsuit and publicity on themselves,” Lawrence stated in part.

Love is expected to resume her testimony Thursday.

RELATED STORY: Attorneys File Defamation Suit Against Courtney Love

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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