July 14, 2021 was a big day for the Princess of Pop, Britney Spears, in a Los Angeles courtroom where she demanded to be heard by Judge Brenda Penny as well as the entire nation, if not the world.
The fan-started “Free Britney” movement has emotionally empowered the pop star to make major moves to end her 13-year conservatorship. Yesterday she was victorious in her motion to be able to legally hire an attorney for herself, a move that has been blocked by her father Jamie Spears since 2008.
Judge Penny granted Spears’ request to hire her own attorney to represent the singer in her ongoing conservatorship battle. Spears has retained former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, who attended the hearing Wednesday.
The decision came after 39-year-old Spears told Judge Brenda Penny at a hearing last month that she wanted to hire her own attorney to advocate on her behalf, stating that she had been forced by her conservators to perform, take lithium, and remain on birth control against her will.
On June 23, the Pop Princess read an impassioned and heartbreaking speech to the court, sometimes speaking too quickly for the court reporter to record. Spears told the court that she wanted to end her conservatorship without further psychological evaluation, describing the 13-year case as traumatizing and abusive. She described her former psychiatrist as abusive, said she had been forced into inpatient facilities against her will, and said her conservators refused to allow her to remove an intrauterine device so she could have more children.
The account of her abuse was so shocking that shortly after several key players in her conservatorship resigned. Samuel D. Ingham, her court-appointed counsel for the past 13 years, submitted his petition to resign on July 6 after Spears criticized him and asked the court if she could hire her own counsel.
In the filing, Ingham stated that the resignation would be effective upon the designation of new court-appointed counsel for Spears. Spears’ longtime manager, Larry Rudolph resigned on July 5. On July 2, The appointed co-conservator of Spears’ estimated $60 million dollar estate, Bessemer Trust, a wealth management firm, asked to resign, citing “changed circumstances.”
In a strange turn of events on June 30, the (alleged) abuser himself, Jamie Spears, asks the court to launch an investigation into the allegations of abuse by the conservatorship made by his daughter in a thinly veiled attempt to pass the buck and deflect responsibility.
On Wednesday night, Spears tweeted her appreciation for her fans and new representation. The video she posted, she said, was her “celebrating by horseback riding and doing cartwheels today.”
What is a Conservatorship?
A “conservatorship” is when a guardian is legally responsible for protecting and managing another person’s finances, medical decisions and life choices. This decision is made when the person under the conservatorship is mentally or physically unable to care for themselves.
The appointed guardian in conservatorship is referred to as a “conservator” and in Britney Spears’ case, it is her father, Jamie Spears. Britney Spears’ court-ordered conservatorship was made permanent in October 2008.
Some aspects of Britney Spears’ conservatorship have been revealed in documents. The conservatorship has the power to restrict her visitors. It arranges and oversees visits with her sons, ages 14 and 15; father Kevin Federline has full custody. It has the power to take out restraining orders in her name, which it has used more than once to keep away interlopers deemed “shady”. It has the power to make her medical decisions and her business deals.
Legally, Spears can get married, but the conservatorship must approve it as with other major life decisions.
How Can a Conservatorship End?
California probate law states that a conservatorship can’t be lifted until a petition to end the arrangement is filed by the conservator, the conservatee, or “[t]he spouse, or domestic partner, or any relative or friend of the conservatee or other interested person
Mathew Rosengart called on her father Jamie to voluntarily step down as her conservator, saying it was “in the best interest” of his client. “Jamie Spears should be removed as conservator because it is in [the] best interest of the conservatee,” Rosengart, a veteran entertainment litigator now representing the singer, said while addressing the press outside the courthouse. “
We will be moving promptly and aggressively for his removal. The question remains, why is he involved? He should step down voluntarily because that’s what’s in the best interest of the conservatee,” he added. Vivian Thoreen, an attorney for Jamie Spears, said in court he would not resign.