Britney Spears’ dad’s latest move doesn’t satisfy her conservatorship demands
Britney Spears’ father wants to bring back an attorney who has helped manage the singer’s complicated conservatorship, which appears to go against the pop star’s wishes to appoint the temporary conservator managing her personal affairs to a more permanent role.
The move comes after a temporary arrangement in her protracted conservatorship case — known in other states as a legal guardianship — was extended to 2021 and after the singer’s attorney told the court this week that she is “strongly opposed” to her father remaining the sole conservator of her personal and financial well-being.
In documents filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, James “Jamie” Spears, who has had broad authority over his daughter’s life since her breakdowns in 2008, requested the reappointment of attorney Andrew M. Wallet as a co-conservator of the singer’s person and estate.
Jamie Spears submitted additional documentation to continue the conservatorship that checked a box saying that his 38-year-old daughter is “substantially unable to manage his or her financial resources or to resist fraud or undue influence.”
After more than a decade, why is Britney Spears still under a court-approved conservatorship, which leaves decisions involving her estate and everyday life to others?
Wallet consented to act as the co-conservator in documents also filed Thursday. He previously held the position from Jan. 5, 2009, until the court accepted his voluntary resignation on March 4, 2019. At the time, he said that the singer would suffer “substantial detriment, irreparable harm and immediate danger” if he didn’t step down.
Since then, Jamie Spears has been the sole conservator of the pop musician’s estate, and his daughter attempted to curb that power this week.
In a Wednesday status hearing in L.A., which was closed to the media and public, Judge Brenda Penny extended the temporary conservatorship to Feb. 1, 2021. Britney Spears did not appear for Wednesday’s hearing, which was conducted through Los Angeles Superior Court’s remote courtroom appearance system.
Her court-appointed attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, is authorized to file a petition no later than Sept. 18 and have the case set for hearing on Oct. 14. Any objections would have to be filed by Oct. 2.
The “...Baby One More Time” hitmaker has not had full control over her life or business affairs since her public unraveling, and her case has been complicated over the years and mostly concealed in probate court.
Ingham’s filing Tuesday gave the public a rare glimpse into the singer’s highly guarded life and her recently stated desire to no longer perform.
Spears’ documents requested that Jodi Montgomery, the temporary, licensed professional conservator overseeing her case since September, be named permanent conservator of the entertainer’s personal affairs. As for her estate, she strongly opposed her father continuing in that capacity by himself and preferred to have a “qualified corporate fiduciary” appointed to serve in the role instead.
The entertainer said that did not mean she would be waiving her right to seek an end to the entire arrangement. She also stated that she wants to stop performing. In January 2019, she abruptly canceled her “Britney: Domination” residency in Las Vegas before it even began, then checked into a mental health facility after revealing that her father was sick. She has not performed live since 2018.
“We are now at a point where the conservatorship must be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes,” Ingham wrote in Tuesday’s documents.
Ahead of a #FreeBritney rally in L.A. on Wednesday, new court documents request that Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, be removed as her sole conservator.
The case has been playing out against the reignited #FreeBritney campaign, a movement by Spears’ fans to have the conservatorship investigated for abuse and ultimately terminated. A Change.org petition has amassed more than 106,000 signatures, and the viral campaign has surged in recent months as fans were convinced the singer was sending coded messages on social media.
In April, after the mother of two revealed she accidentally burned down her home gym, her followers bombarded the post with comments expressing their concern for her well-being.
Protesters again rallied outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A. during Wednesday’s hearing.
Earlier this month, Jamie Spears slammed the campaign, which claims the pop musician is being held captive by him, arguing that the movement’s organizers are “conspiracy theorists.”
Organizers on Friday refuted that characterization, arguing that the documents they reviewed in Spears’ case show that the entertainer’s fundamental human rights are being stripped away.
“There are certainly people who are in the movement who dabble in a lot of speculation,” the campaign’s BJ Courville told The Times. “There are equally, if not more people who have studied these documents and law who believe that her constitutional rights have been implicated ... [we’re] actively noticing human rights violations.”
The campaign believes Spears has no voice or autonomy. The petition said that she’s being manipulated and controlled, isn’t allowed to drive or vote, has her calls and messages monitored, and can see people or spend her money only with permission. If she breaks any rules, they allege, her father threatens to have her two sons taken away.
Courville said that Spears was railroaded into the protracted conservatorship and found it strange that Wallet, someone who previously stated the singer could be harmed if he remained a co-conservator, would return instead of having a corporate fiduciary appointed.
“It’s confusing because a little more than a year ago it was ‘irreparable harm and immediate danger,’ and now we’ve seen Britney’s explicit wishes, and it’s my understanding that [his appointment] is not that,” Courville said.
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