Britney Spears’ father suspended as conservator of her estate by LA judge

Singer has been under controversial legal control since she was hospitalised in 2008

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 30 September 2021 00:11
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Britney Spears returns to court in conservatorship case

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Britney Spearsfather has been immediately suspended as the conservator of her estate by a judge in Los Angeles who ruled that the arrangement was no longer in the pop star’s best interests.

The singer has been under the controversial conservatorship for 13 years since she was hospitalised for psychiatric evaluation in 2008.

Her father, Jamie Spears, was the conservator of both her personal life and estate until 2019, when Jodi Montgomery took over control of the personal conservatorship.

Mr Spears had petitioned LA County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny to end the conservatorship, while his daughter had asked for her father to be immediately removed from the position.

At a hearing in Downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday the judge granted the petition from the singer’s new lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, to suspend Mr Spears from control of his daughter’s $60m estate.

“The current situation is not tenable,” Judge Penny told the court after the petition was made but did not end the conservatorship.

The court then named California accountant, John Zabel, as the temporary conservator of her finances.

At the same hearing, a lawyer for Mr Spears, Vivian Lee Thoreen, argued the conservatorship should be immediately ended, while lawyers for Ms Spears want more time to investigate his behaviour while in the position.

During a June court hearing, Ms Spears broke her silence over the conservatorship and declared that it had left her “traumatised” as she called for the investigation and jailing of those people who had overseen it.

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At that hearing she claimed that she had been drugged and forced to work against her will during the conservatorship, prevented from removing a birth control device and forced into a mental health facility.

A former security company employee has also revealed how the singer was closely monitored at home, with secret audio recordings made in her bedroom and material taken from her phone, which was raised by her lawyer at Wednesday’s hearing.

“We learned Mr Spears did something unfathomable. He instructed (a) security team, paid for by my client, to place a listening device in Britney’s bedroom,” Mr Rosengart told the court.

In response Mr Spears’ lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, said, “It’s not evidence, it’s rhetoric.”

Around 100 “Free Britney” protesters gathered outside the city’s Stanley Mosk Courthouse before the hearing to show their support for the singer.

Mr Rosengart, who took over as the lawyer for Spears in July, asked the court to hold a termination hearing in 30 to 45 days.

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