Britney Spears Files to Remove Father Jamie Spears From Conservatorship
More than 13 years after Britney Spears’ life and finances were brought under strict control and court approved by her father, James P. Spears – and a month after Ms Spears broke her public silence on the arrangement, calling it abusive and naming it as his ultimate authority – a new lawyer for the singer has decided to remove Mr Spears from sole guardianship.
The detailed petition to oust the singer’s father from the complex legal setup was filed in Los Angeles Estates Court on Monday by Mathew S. Rosengart, former federal prosecutor and senior Hollywood lawyer, who has worked with celebrities such as Sean Penn, Julia Louis -Dreyfus and Steven Spielberg.
The move, less than two weeks after Mr Rosengart’s approval as the singer’s lawyer, is seen as a first step in a broader strategy to examine the tutelage, which the case describes as a “Kafkaesque nightmare” for Mrs. Spears.
Mr Rosengart succeeded Ms Spears’ lawyer after Samuel D. Ingham III, the court-appointed lawyer who had represented him throughout the duration of the arrangement, resigned in light of recent comments from the singer on her care. In 2008, at the start of the Guardianship, it was found that Ms Spears did not have the mental capacity to hire her own lawyer.
In Monday’s filing, Rosengart cited a section of the probate code that gives the court broad discretion to remove a registrar if it “is in the best interests” of the registrar, and pointed to recent comments by Ms. Spears in court as evidence. that his father’s role was prejudicial to his well-being.
The record added that “serious questions abound regarding Mr. Spears ‘potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest, abuse of trusteeship and the obvious dissipation of Ms. Spears’ fortune.”
“There may well come a time when the court will be called upon to consider whether the guardianship should be terminated in its entirety and whether – in addition to stripping his daughter of her dignity, autonomy and certain fundamental freedoms – Mr. Spears is also guilty. fault or wrongdoing justifying the imposition of surcharges, damages or other legal proceedings against him, ”Mr. Rosengart wrote.
Lawyers for Mr Spears did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. He has already defended his care and concern for his daughter.
In an additional filing, Mr Rosengart requested that a certified public accountant in California, Jason Rubin, be appointed as the registrar of Ms Spears’ estate, which was listed as including cash assets of $ 2.7 million and non-cash assets of over $ 57 million.
The lawyer noted that since the court recently ruled that Ms Spears had the capacity to choose her own lawyer, she “also has sufficient capacity to make that appointment.”
In his petition to dismiss Mr. Spears, Mr. Rosengart added, “Any father who sincerely loves his daughter and has her best interests at heart should voluntarily step aside in favor of the highly respected professional trustee named here.
The petition was supported by Ms Spears’ current personal curator, Jodi Montgomery, as well as her mother, Lynne Spears, who said in the file that her daughter’s relationship with her father had “come to nothing.” other than fear and hate ”because of his“ microscopic control ”over his life.
In a moving hearing on June 23, Ms Spears, 39, said she wanted to end guardianship, which oversees both her personal care and estate, without having to undergo psychiatric assessments; she added that she didn’t know she could file to end it.
But Mr Rosengart said in his petition on Monday that he was focusing for now on “the most pressing problem Ms Spears faces: the removal of Mr Spears as curator of the estate.”
The next status hearing is scheduled for September 29.
Ms Spears has long resented the restrictions on guardianship behind the scenes, calling her father and his surveillance of his life oppression and control, according to confidential court records recently obtained by The New York Times. Over the years, Ms Spears has also raised questions about her father’s suitability – who battled alcoholism and was accused of physical and verbal abuse – as a conservative.
“Everything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad, and my dad only,” Ms Spears said at the hearing, as she described being forced into a mental health facility after a disagreement during a concert rehearsal.
“I cried on the phone for an hour and he loved every minute,” she added. “The control he had over someone as powerful as me – he loved the control, to hurt his own daughter, a hundred thousand percent.”
At the July 14 hearing where Mr. Rosengart was approved as Ms. Spears’ attorney, she said, “I’m here to get rid of my father. Mr. Rosengart asked Mr. Spears to resign immediately; a lawyer for the singer’s father refused.
Mr Spears, 69, said the institution of guardianship was necessary to save his daughter’s life and career during a time of concern over her mental health and drug addiction, and that he acted out of love , striving to protect it from exploitation.
Since 2008, Mr. Spears has overseen his daughter’s finances, sometimes with a professional co-curator. He had also largely controlled Ms Spears’ personal and medical care until a personal curator, Ms Montgomery, took over in September 2019 on an ongoing temporary basis.
Mr. Spears cited health reasons when he resigned. But two weeks earlier, there had been an alleged physical altercation between Mr Spears and Ms Spears’ 13-year-old son. No charges were laid in the incident, but the child’s father, Kevin Federline, obtained a restraining order prohibiting Mr Spears from seeing the children.
Lynne Spears said in the petition to dismiss Mr. Spears that the incident “naturally destroyed everything that was left of a relationship between” Ms. Spears and her father.
She added: “It is clear to me that James P. Spears is unable to put the interests of my daughter ahead of his both professionally and personally and that to be and remain a steward of my estate. daughter is not the best of my daughter’s interests.
Conservatories are usually reserved for people who cannot take care of themselves. Ms Spears’ case has come under intense scrutiny in recent years because she continued to star as a pop star – and bring in millions of dollars – while she was under the arrangement.
“I shouldn’t be in a guardianship if I can work,” Ms. Spears said at the June 23 hearing, while calling for its termination. “It doesn’t make sense. The laws have to change.” She also called for those behind the guardianship to be investigated for abuse.
Lawyers for Mr Spears have questioned the actions of others involved in Ms Spears’ care. In a court file following Ms Spears ‘remarks, which were broadcast in the courtroom and, as she insisted, to the public, Mr Spears’ attorneys requested hearings to examine his allegations.
“Either the allegations will prove to be true, in which case corrective action will have to be taken, or they will prove to be false, in which case the guardianship can continue its course,” they wrote.
Lawyers for Mr Spears also denied the characterization that he was responsible for the singer’s recent treatment, noting that Ms Montgomery had been “fully responsible for Ms Spears’ daily personal care and medical treatment” for almost two years, despite some of Ms. Spears’ demands prior to Ms. Montgomery’s appointment.
“Mr. Spears is unable to hear and respond directly to his daughter’s concerns because he has been prevented from contacting her,” Mr. Spears’ attorneys wrote last month, adding that he was “concerned about the management and care of his daughter”.
Lauriann Wright, lawyer for Ms Montgomery, said Ms Montgomery had “been a tireless advocate for Britney and her well-being”, with “one main goal – to help and encourage Britney on her journey to no longer need a guardianship of the person.
In Ms Spears’ speech in court last month, she said she was forced to perform, take medication and stay on birth control.
Following her remarks, the singer’s court-appointed lawyer, Bessemer Trust, the wealth management company that was to take over as co-custodian of Ms Spears’ estate, asked to step down , in addition to Mr. Ingham. Outside of the guardianship, Ms Spears’ longtime manager Larry Rudolph also resigned, citing his stated intention to retire.
Ms Spears had expressed concerns about her father’s level of control over her for years in the court proceedings, which were largely sealed. In 2016, the probate investigator in the case concluded that guardianship remained in Ms Spears’ best interests due to her complex finances, her susceptibility to outside influences and her “intermittent drug problems.” , According to the report.
But the investigator’s report recommended in the longer term “a path to independence and the eventual end of guardianship”.
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