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'Britney Is Free': Judge Removes Britney Spears' Father From Her Conservatorship
Judge Brenda Penny sides with Britney Spears' attorney, Mathew Rosengart, and suspended Jamie Spears from her conservatorship.
Britney Spears’ father was removed from her conservatorship on Wednesday, much to the delight of the pop icon’s fans.
During a contentious hearing in Los Angeles, Judge Brenda Penny sided with Spears’ lawyer Mathew Rosengart and suspended Jamie Spears, 69, as his daughter’s conservator of estate, the New York Times reported. Wednesday marks the first time since 2008 that the “Overprotected” singer will be away from her father’s control.
“The current situation is not tenable,” Penny said, agreeing with Rosengart that her father being a part of the conservatorship is not in the pop star's interest.
Penny named California accountant John Zabel, who Britney Spears and Rosengart recommended, as the temporary conservator of the singer’s finances. Jamie Spears tried to argue in court papers that Zabel was not qualified for the job and that the conservatorship should just be terminated altogether.
“Mr. Spears cannot be in my client's life for one more day,” Rosengart said.
The attorney asked for a court review and termination of the conservatorship within 30 to 45 days. The transfer of conservator of person from Jamie Spears to Zabel will allow Rosengart to investigate the singer's father's behavior during his 13 years of involvement in the conservatorship.
Another hearing will be set for the possible termination of the conservatorship altogether. The exact date of that hearing has not been decided, but Penny said it will be on or before Nov. 12.
“Britney is free,” Erin Lee Carr, director of “Britney vs Spears” tweeted as a response to Penny’s ruling.
A crowd of #FreeBritney supporters outside of the courthouse rejoiced.
Before Penny made the decision, Rosengart pleaded with the judge to do what Britney Spears wants in the case. Meanwhile, Jamie Spears’ lawyer argued that the conservatorship should just be ended. Rosengart argued, as he has in the past, that Jamie Spears' desire to terminate the arrangement is motivated by a desire to dodge any accountability for any mishandling or abuse.
Vivian Lee Thoreen, Jamie Spears' lawyer, argued that her client had his daughter’s best interest and there was no evidence of misdeeds.
Rosengart brought up allegations that Jamie Spears secretly bugged her bedroom. The accusation was first made public in "Controlling Britney Spears," which was released on Hulu on Friday.
“You, Judge Penny, can ask him [Jamie Spears] right now," Rosengart said. "Did he plant a listening device in my client’s bedroom? The bedroom my client still sleeps in today.”
Thoreen claimed that such allegations had no place in court and that those put forth by Britney Spears in her June hearing were never cross-examined.
In June, Spears has accused her father of conservatorship abuse and even said he should be in jail. She told Penny that at one point during the 13 years since the conservatorship had been established, she had been held in a psychiatric hold against her will while her family did nothing. She also alleged that she was forced to perform against her will, take lithium, and was told she could not get her IUD removed. Since that hearing, the pressure for Jamie Spears began to mount both on social media and in the courtroom. After Britney Spears was permitted in July to finally hire her own attorney, Rosengart quickly filed for her father's removal.
Jamie Spears has been his daughter’s conservator of estate for 13 years. He was also her conservator of person from 2008 until 2019 when he stepped down from that role.
Britney Spears was not present in court during Wednesday's hearing.