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Friday, December 2, 2022

Spears is liberated from her father’s control by a judge

For more than a decade, Britney Spears despised the court-approved control her father, James P. Spears, held over her life and fortune, which she disliked behind closed doors as well.

A Los Angeles court has decided that Ms. Spears, 39, will be free of her father’s supervision for the first time since 2008, as the singer comes closer to ending her conservatorship entirely.

At a hearing on Wednesday, Judge Brenda Penny approved a petition filed by Ms. Spears’s attorney, removing Mr. Spears, 69, from his role as executor of his daughter’s $60 million inheritance — a step that Ms. Spears had pleaded for, according to her lawyer.

It was argued in court that “this guy does not belong in her life, your honor, for another day” by Mathew S. Rosengart, who took over as the singer’s lawyer in July after previously representing her.

Lawyers representing Mr. Spears argued that the conservatorship should be terminated rather than extended, citing his “impeccable” performance as conservator. However, after hearing arguments from both sides, the court determined that suspending Mr. Spears was in the best interests of his daughter.

According to Mr. Rosengart’s request, she appointed John Zabel, a California-based accountant, to serve as interim conservator of the singer’s financial affairs.

When she appeared in court at the time, Ms. Spears declared herself “traumatized,” pleading with the judge to investigate and imprison those in charge of the conservatorship, and singling out her father as “the one who authorized it all.”

The conservatorship was created in 2008 when Mr. Spears sought authority over his pop-star daughter’s personal and professional life, citing her mental health issues and drug addiction.

In a dramatic role reversal at the hearing on Wednesday, a lawyer for Mr. Spears, Vivian Lee Thoreen, who had been one of the conservatorship’s most ardent defenders, argued that the conservatorship should be terminated immediately rather than suspending her client, while the lawyer for Ms. Spears asked the judge to delay the decision until he could conduct a more thorough investigation into Mr. Spears’s conduct.

In addition, Mr. Spears may be removed from his position as conservator completely on that day, or at a subsequent hearing to establish if he failed to carry out his duties for any number of reasons outlined in the statute, including mismanagement of the estate or “gross immorality.” In order to finalize remaining financial issues, including more than $1 million in legal costs invoiced to the estate, the court scheduled an extra hearing for December 8th.

In asking for an inquiry into the singer’s allegations, her father disputed that he was responsible for her treatment, instead questioning the conduct of Jodi Montgomery, Ms. Spears’ current personal conservator, and others.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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