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Britney Spears Legal Bills Top $2.7M Under Dad’s Conservatorship

Posted Mar 25, 2009 2:20 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Onstage, Britney Spears is the boss. But offstage, it's an entirely different situation for the 27-year-old pop superstar.

In the 14 months since a judge determined she could not handle her own affairs and appointed her father, Jamie Spears, as a conservator, she has racked up an ever-increasing total of legal bills, reports the Los Angeles Times, based on an accounting filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Court filings show that some 17 attorneys and law firms on the singer's payroll during this period racked up at least $2.7 million in legal fees and costs—and likely a lot more—in the first 11 months of of conservatorship, the newspaper writes. And additional legal bills will soon be arriving in the mail, too.

Spears attorneys contacted by the newspaper did not respond to requests for comment. Among the matters that have added to the $2.7 million total for the superstar are a legal battle by her father against others seeking to intervene in the conservatorship ($102,000), divorce and custody proceedings concerning Spears' ex-husband, Kevin Federline ($460,000), defending Florida litigation filed by a former manager ($113,000) and defending Spears in a criminal case for driving without a license ($26,000).

Not included in the court accounting are $375,000 that Spears was required to pay to cover Federline's legal expenses or payments to the entertainment lawyer who handles her contracts and other career-related matters.

The number of attorneys and amount of Britney Spears' legal bills aren't particularly unusual for a celebrity of her stature, however, according to attorney Arnold Gold, who is a retired probate judge. "It's quite appropriate, particularly in the entertainment field, to incur and have to pay very, very, very sizable attorneys' fees," he tells the newspaper.

Meanwhile, attorney Jon Eardley, who contends that he is representing Spears in an effort to regain control of her estate, says her situation is comparable to that of Soviet dissidents sent to forced labor camps in the Gulag during the Cold War, according to a post earlier this month on the newspaper's L.A. Now blog.

A judge, however, has determined that Spears isn't competent to retain her own counsel and has appointed a different lawyer to represent her.

Additional coverage:

Rock & Roll Daily (Rolling Stone): "Britney Spears’ Legal Fees: $2.7 Million and Counting Since Father Seized Control"

Associated Press (February 2008): "Court gives Spears' father temporary conservatorship"

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