Britney Spears’ father suspended as conservator of her estate, judge rules
Britney Spears is free of her father’s much-loathed role in controlling her life and finances, but she’s not yet completely free of the 13-year conservatorship, following a hearing in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
The judge overseeing Britney Spears’ conservatorship ordered the suspension of her father, James “Jamie” Spears, from his longtime role as her guardian, and ordered him to turn over all her assets, estimated at about $60 million, to a temporary conservator.
“I do believe … that the suspension of Jamie Spears is in the best interest of the conservatee, Britney Spears,” Judge Brenda Penny said during a near two-hour hearing in Los Angeles probate court.
The judge said the suspension would be effective Wednesday, handing the pop star another victory in her effort to escape the conservatorship and the state of California’s hold on her life.
“The current situation is untenable,” Penny said after hearing arguments from both sides. “It reflects a toxic environment which requires the suspension of James Spears.”
The ruling came after Jamie Spears’ lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, acknowledged that her client wants his daughter’s conservatorship to end, but said there is no point replacing him with someone else just to end it later.
Mathew Rosengart, Britney Spears’ new lawyer, argued for appointment of a new temporary conservator while slowly winding down the conservatorship itself later.
“My client wants, my client needs, my client deserves an orderly transition,” he said.
Rosengart also used the hearing to continue his criticism, expressed in multiple court documents, of Jamie Spears’ handling of his daughter’s life, which she has called “abusive.”
Rosengart referenced several recent TV documentaries on Britney, including one that reported Jamie Spears hired a security firm to eavesdrop on her in her bedroom and in her conversations with her lawyers.
Jamie Spearshas controlled his daughter’s person or finances or both since its implementation in 2008.
He was most recently conservator of her finances but he had already agreed to step down if certain conditions were met. He also argued for an immediate termination of the conservatorship.
Days before Wednesday’s hearing, Rosengart filed a supplemental motion calling for an immediate removal and suspension of Spears’ father from her conservatorship, citing a New York Times report which alleged Jamie secretly captured audio recordings from his daughter’s bedroom.
“Mr. Spears has crossed unfathomable lines,” Rosengart wrote in the petition.
In the past, Britney has accused her father of “abusive” practices, has refused to perform as long as he is in charge of her life, and said she was “afraid” of him.
Jamie has repeatedly said there is no justification for his removal, and he has acted only in his daughter’s best interest.