Britney Spears now can sign her own documents and manage her finances, judge rules
Not only is Britney Spears “a free woman,” she’s now also free to sign her own estate paperwork and manage her finances for the first time in nearly 14 years.
Judge Brenda J. Penny granted a motion giving those rights back to the pop star at a hearing Wednesday afternoon at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, according to Variety. Attorneys representing the singer and her father also traded barbs, Insider reported, as proposed orders for how to wrap up the conservatorship were reviewed.
At a previous hearing in November, temporary conservator of the estate John Zabel was given the powers that the pop star reclaimed today, Variety reported. Zabel took over after Britney’s father was removed from the role in late September.
Separate from the hearing, Britney Spears’ attorney, Mathew S. Rosengart, told reporters gathered outside the courthouse Wednesday that Jamie Spears had twice failed to appear for a deposition.
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“He has not yet been deposed, but he will be deposed in this case,” he said, adding that if necessary he would file a motion to compel Jamie Spears to appear. Rosengart did not respond immediately to The Times’ request for comment.
Penny ruled Nov. 12 that the pop star’s conservatorship was terminated, effective immediately, with the caveat that the temporary conservator of the estate, Zabel, was ordered to complete a few additional tasks before the court ended it entirely. More loose ends will be considered at a hearing Jan. 19.
Leading up to Wednesday’s hearing, the two sides had been going back and forth over technicalities related to a termination order proposed in November by Jamie Spears, with the former conservator’s team accusing the other camp of attempting to ruin his reputation.
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Jamie’s attorney, Alex M. Weingarten, said in a filing this week that Zabel and Jodi Montgomery, temporary conservator of the singer’s person, had made comments in their objection to the proposal “with no other purpose than to attack” Britney’s father.
In their objection, the temporary conservators said Jamie Spears’ proposed termination order was “misleading and inaccurate,” especially with regard to unproven statements from his previous petitions.
They also referenced his “ignominious and appropriate suspension” as a conservator and brought up allegations that he had eavesdropped on his daughter for years, including placing a listening device in her bedroom to record intimate conversations.
“Mr. Spears cannot avoid the stigma and implications of being a disgraced, suspended Conservator,” they said in their objection.
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Weingarten — whom Jamie Spears hired amid conservatorship misconduct allegations in late October — wrote in a document filed Monday that the “unfounded invective” from Zabel and Montgomery was unnecessarily delaying termination of the conservatorship and urged the court to ignore the objections and instead approve Jamie Spears’ proposed termination order as is.
Weingarten also noted in another court document this week that 58 pages of paper documents and nearly 115,900 electronic documents had been forwarded to his firm by Jamie Spears’ former legal representation.
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Rosengart previously went off on Jamie Spears in a court document filed after the September release of FX/Hulu’s “Controlling Britney Spears.” The documentary raised numerous allegations against the singer’s father and his “intense surveillance apparatus.”
“Mr. Spears was, of course, never fit to serve, for all of the many compelling reasons already contained in the record, ranging from his lack of financial acumen, to his bankruptcy, to his reported alcoholism, to the trauma he caused his daughter since childhood, to the Domestic Violence Restraining Order recently issued against him,” Rosengart wrote in the court document.
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