Britney Spears tells LA court she wants father Jamie charged with conservatorship abuse | Ents & Arts News
Britney Spears has told an LA court that she wants her father charged with conservatorship abuse.
Addressing the court for the second time in less than a month, Spears demanded once again that Jamie Spears be removed from the legal agreement that has controlled most of her life for more than 13 years.
Giving evidence by phone, as supporters of the #FreeBritney movement protested outside the hearing, the star initially said she wanted the courtroom cleared, before changing her mind and saying she would speak publicly.
She listed a series of grievances, including that her hair vitamins and coffee had been taken from her. “Ma’am, that’s not abuse, that’s just f****** cruelty,” she tearfully told Judge Brenda Penny. “Excuse my language but it’s the truth.”
After taking a short break to compose herself, Spears, 39, called for her father be removed from the complex legal arrangement and be charged with “conservatorship abuse”.
The singer said she wants the conservatorship terminated without the need for a medical assessment, but made it clear her top priority was ousting her father from his role. She said she would be happy allowing co-conservator Jodi Montgomery to remain in the meantime.
“My dad needs to be removed today and I will be happy with Jodi helping me,” the star said.
It comes following Spears’ explosive first testimony in open court in June, during which she got to have her say publicly for the first time.
At that hearing, the star told the court it was her “wish and dream for all of this to end”, and claimed she wants to be able to get married and have a baby, but that the conservatorship won’t allow it.
Much has happened in the three weeks since Spears’ first testimony, with the star’s long-term manager Larry Rudolph reportedly resigning and her court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, also saying he intended to step down. The Bessemer Trust, a financial management company that was hired in 2020 to oversee Spears’s estate alongside her father, also pulled out of the arrangement, saying there had been “changed circumstances”.
Mathew S Rosengart, the high-powered Hollywood lawyer the singer wants to represent her, was also in attendance. He told the court his law firm was more than capable of handling a complex case as the judge officially accepted Mr Ingham’s resignation.
At the height of her fame, Spears was one of the biggest pop stars in the world, famous for hits including …Baby One More Time, Oops!… I Did It Again, I’m A Slave 4 U, Toxic and Womanizer.
She has been under the control of the conservatorship since 2008, when it was initially put in place as a temporary measure following her high-profile reported breakdown. But since then, she has released four albums and held a multimillion-dollar residency in Las Vegas; raising the question of whether she is really unfit to make her own decisions.
In court, the star was highly critical of her father and said she has “extreme abandonment issues”. Apparently recalling her childhood, she said she was “extremely scared of my dad” and feared he was always going to “show up drunk somewhere and embarrass me”.
Jamie Spears, 69, is a recovering alcoholic.
During her testimony, the judge asked Spears to slow down so the court reporter could take it all down. “I’m here to press charges,” Spears said. “I’m angry and I will go there.”
Mr Rosengart joining the case looks likely to lead to a more aggressive approach to ending the conservatorship. Spears, who last appeared on stage for a lucrative Las Vegas residency in 2018, has previously said she will not return to performing while her father remains in control.
Before Spears addressed the court, Mr Rosengart argued why she should be allowed to choose her own lawyer and said the star’s “powerful, compelling, honest” testimony from the June hearing proves she is “more than capable of hiring her own counsel”.
Speaking outside court, #FreeBritney supporter Derrin Stull, 25, said that now Spears has had her say publicly and there is “visibility”, action has to be taken.
“Well, I think Britney is just such a light in the world, she’s done so much for society, for music as a person, and it’s really sad that she was allowed to live in this type of situation for 13 years. So I think it’s really important that everyone support her.
“Now that there’s the visibility, there’s no excuse. So that’s really of the utmost importance that we just make sure that everyone knows that this is happening, that this is going on and it’s not right.”
Fellow supporter Christina Goswick, 40, said: “Like she said [at the previous hearing], I believe she’s traumatised. She can’t sleep. If you look at her, she looks tired. She just wants her life back and I understand that completely.”