Britney Spears succeeds in move to hire own lawyer in conservatorship case
Britney Spears attends an event in 2019. (DFree / Shutterstock.com)
Britney Spears has won the right to hire her own lawyer after accusing her father of “conservatorship abuse.”
The pop star joined the hearing Wednesday by phone, breaking down in tears as she told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny that she feared Jamie Spears and no longer wanted him in control of her business affairs. The judge approved her hiring of Mathew Rosengart, a prominent Hollywood lawyer and former federal prosecutor, who immediately called on her father to resign as her conservator.
“Does anybody really believe Mr. Spears’ continued involvement is in the best interest of Britney Spears?” the shareholder at Greenberg Traurig said, according to Reuters. “If he loves his daughter, it is time to step aside.”
The Associated Press, USA Today, NBC News, NPR, Buzzfeed News and the Hollywood Reporter also have coverage.
Penny also approved the resignation of Spears’ court-appointed lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham III, and wealth management company Bessemer Trust, which served as the co-conservator of her estate. NPR reports that her father is now the sole conservator of her finances.
Addressing the court, Spears said she wanted the 13-year-long conservatorship to end but not if it required more evaluations that allowed “people to question my intelligence for the millionth time,” the Associated Press reports. She said the conservatorship had denied her things like coffee, a driver’s license and vitamins for her hair.
Spears claimed previously that the conservatorship prevented her from getting married and having more children, and that she was forced to take medication against her will.
“If this is not abuse, I don’t know what is,” Spears said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
Her father’s lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, told the court that he had his daughter’s best interests in mind and would not be stepping down from his role. He has been involved since 2008, when Spears had a public meltdown, and her family requested court supervision for her protection.
Thoreen, who serves as the executive partner at Holland & Knight, told the court that Spears held several inaccurate beliefs, including that “her father is responsible for all the bad things that have happened to her,” the Associated Press reports.
Spears’ ability to choose her own lawyer has been supported not only by #FreeBritney activists, but by disability rights organizations and politicians like U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) NPR reports.
The next hearing in Spears’ case is scheduled for Sept. 29, and according to the Associated Press, Penny implored parties to work together.
“It’s not about anybody else, it’s about her,” the judge said.