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It’s Britney, your Honor. Spears fans are eager for pop star to speak at hearing

Britney Spears face on a flag held by a #FreeBritney protester
Activists supporting the #FreeBritney movement protest outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A. Tuesday.
(Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images)

“My client has requested a hearing at which she can address the court directly.”

With those words Tuesday, Britney Spears’ court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham III, set in motion a June 23 court appearance that’s certain to send the #FreeBritney folks into overdrive. At issue is control of the pop star’s conservatorship, which she has lived with since 2008.

Ingham didn’t tell the court what his client wanted to say. Spears hasn’t addressed the court since a hearing in a closed courtroom on May 10, 2019. Since then, the documentary “Framing Britney Spears” appeared on the Hulu streaming service in February, further riling up the fans who believe the “Toxic” singer is trapped in a conservatorship she doesn’t need or want.

About 50 fans protested Tuesday outside the courthouse in downtown L.A., carrying signs with messages such as “Britney Spears Is a Human Being” and “THIS IS TOXIC.”

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But on social media, Spears’ supporters expressed their excitement, concern and even some conspiratorial thinking after the appearance was scheduled.

Britney Spears smiling
Britney Spears, seen in 2013, wants to speak at her conservatorship hearing in June.
(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

“Long overdue,” journalist Yashar Ali tweeted in reaction to the news.

“I’m concerned Britney will be coerced once again to say she voluntarily WANTS the conservatorship,” another Twitter user said. “No matter what... the conservatorship is completely unlawful. Just because someone WANTS to stay in jail... doesn’t mean they should if they haven’t committed a crime.”

A third person simply celebrated: “A fully vaxxed Britney Spears to address the court on June 23rd. Can’t wait to see it.”

What makes Spears’ conservatorship unusual — other than her extraordinary fame — is that these legal arrangements are typically designed for older people, often with dementia, who are incapable of making informed decisions or physically taking care of themselves.

Her father was in charge of both her finances and her person until Jodi Montgomery, of Pais Montgomery Fiduciary, was made temporary conservator of Britney’s personal decisions in 2019, after dad Jamie Spears suffered a spontaneous colon rupture.

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The singer abruptly canceled her “Britney: Domination” residency in Las Vegas in 2019 before it even began, citing a need to be with her ailing father. Then she checked into a mental health facility. She has not performed live since 2018.

Ingham told the court in August that Spears no longer wanted her father to serve as the sole conservator of her person and wanted a bank to be named a conservator of her finances. In November, Ingham also made the bombshell revelation that the former child star is “afraid of her father” and won’t perform again while he remains in charge of her career. In late March, the singer requested that Montgomery’s role be made permanent.

Jamie Spears has remained a co-conservator of his daughter’s estate, working with the Bessemer Trust, a financial company. Britney Spears has yet to demand the end of the conservatorship, which in most states is known as a legal guardianship.

Pop star Britney Spears has broken her silence about FX’s “Framing Britney Spears,” which has sparked new conversations about how she’s been treated.

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“Jamie saved Britney’s life,” his attorney Vivian Lee Thoreen said on “Good Morning America” in February, after “Framing Britney Spears” debuted. The singer’s assets “were clearly being mismanaged, and she was being taken advantage of financially by some of those around her,” Thoreen said.

“I didn’t watch the documentary,” Spears said in a March post on Instagram, “but from what I did see of it I was embarrassed by the light they put me in ... I cried for two weeks and well .... I still cry sometimes !!!! I do what I can in my own spirituality with myself to try and keep my own joy ... love ... and happiness ... Every day dancing brings me joy !!! I’m not here to be perfect ... perfect is boring ... I’m here to pass on kindness.”

Here is a sampling of fan reactions to Tuesday’s news.

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Times staff writers Nardine Saad and Meredith Blake and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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