Britney Spears‘ 13-year conservatorship could end today with both of the pop star’s parents due in court via Zoom – hours after the pop star’s lawyer called her father ‘a reported alcoholic and gambling addict’ in new legal documents.
Britney, 39, is not expected to be in attendance at the hearing , which will take place remotely from LA’s Stanley Mosk Courthouse, where a judge will hear arguments for ending the conservatorship.
The singer has been under a conservatorship since 2008, when she suffered a mental health breakdown. Since that time, decisions about her finances and personal care have been managed by her dad, Jamie.
But Britney has accused her father of cruelty, saying he ‘he loved the control to hurt his own daughter’.
Britney and her parents both want to end the conservatorship so the court will not hear arguments to continue Jamie’s control over his daughter. However, sources say it is unlikely a judge will terminate the conservatorship completely today.
The judge is instead more likely to either order a mental evaluation, which could take several months to complete, or ask the involved parties to agree a roadmap to end the conservatorship out of court.
The hearing begins at 1:30pm Pacific Daylight Time.
Britney’s lawyer, Matthew Rosengart, has said his first priority is to remove Jamie from his status as conservator and install a replacement – his second priority is to end the conservatorship.
Rosengart has called Jamie a ‘reported alcoholic and gambling addict’ in new legal documents as they fight over who should take over the singer’s conservatorship.
Jamie filed legal documents trying to challenge the person Rosengart has chosen to replace him to oversee Britney’s estate, CPA John Zabel, who has an ‘impeccable record of serving in positions of trust,’ according to TMZ.
Britney Spears’ 13-year conservatorship could end today with both parents Jamie and Lynne due in court via zoom
Spears and her parents (pictured) both want to end the conservatorship so the court will not hear arguments to continue Jamie’s control over his daughter, but sources told the daily it was unlikely a judge would terminate it today
Despite Zabel also being described as a ‘highly-esteemed, nationally-recognized, and an award-winning CPA,’ Britney’s father has been trying to challenge the appointment.
In documents filed yesterday Jamie alleged Zabel, a certified public accountant, is not ‘highly qualified’ and that it could be a ‘significant risk’ to her estate since he lacks experience in conservatorship.
The filings also state Jamie believes there is no reason to replace him since there is no evidence he did a poor job.
Jamie also noted in the documents John allegedly lost $1 million of his own money in a fraudulent real estate investment, which he claims meant he cannot do his own due diligence with his own money.
Mathew Rosengart, Britney Spears’s lawyer, said the allegations of monitoring her communications were deeply disturbing
Jamie Spears, pictured with Britney in 2015, on Thursday resigned as her conservator. He said that he was stepping down because he did not feel the continued public battle was in her best interests
What is a conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a legal concept whereby a probate court appoints a person to manage an incapacitated person or minor’s financial and personal affairs.
It is often a relative. The terminology and details vary state-by-state, but the general principals are all similar.
The conservator’s duties include overseeing finances, medical care and living arrangements.
In Britney’s case, the conservators also oversee visitation arrangements with her two teenage sons, who are under the full custody of her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. It is most frequently used for someone who is severely mentally incapacitated, or suffering from dementia.
Yet in the 13 years of Britney’s conservatorship, she has released four albums – two of them going platinum; appeared as a judge on both The X Factor and American Idol; and had a four-year residency in Las Vegas that reportedly grossed close to $138 million.
The specific details of Britney’s case have not been revealed. Unless a judge says otherwise, they still retain rights to make certain decisions, according to the California handbook.
They can control salaries they earn, spend an allowance, retain legal representation, vote in elections, get married, draft their own wills, make medical decisions for themselves and ask a judge to terminate conservatorships or replace their guardians.
‘All conservatees have the right to be treated with understanding and respect and to have their wishes considered. They have all basic human rights, as well, and the right to be well cared for by you,’ the California handbook says.
Britney says that she has not had these rights. It is unclear whether this is a violation of her case, or as agreed.
There are two types of conservators: a conservator of the person, who looks after meals, housekeeping, transport, housing and recreation, and a conservator of the estate who manages finances and protects assets. Sometimes one person can play both roles.
The conservator of the estate must file periodic activities reports by the first year after their appointment and every two years following, until the relationship is terminated.
The estate managers have to disclose asset values, gains and losses, and show receipts for all expenditures of conservatorship funds. They are also prohibited from borrowing money from the conservatee or lending out their cash. Many countries have similar systems.
In the U.K. it is called a deputyship. In Britain, however, the court will appoint an independent conservator, rather than a family member.
However, Rosengart has hit back at Jamie’s concerns, saying he has ‘zero financial background or experience in financial matters, who previously filed for bankruptcy and has a Domestic Violence Restraining Order currently in effect against him.’
Rosengart goes further in his response, saying Jamie is ‘incompetent’ and complains about his ‘abuse of his daughter (which evidently goes back to her childhood), and the dissipation of Estate assets.’
The legal documents filed by Rosengart are also said to mention the recent allegations that Jamie engineered secret recordings in Britney’s bedroom.
The FBI are reportedly investigating allegations Jamie hired a security company to monitor his daughter’s communications – including what went on in her bedroom – without her knowledge or consent.
Deadline reported that the FBI are looking into whether the law was broken, with Jamie Spears insisting his daughter knew of the surveillance arrangements.
Under Californian law, both parties must consent to a conversation being recorded.
They have triggered a furious response from Britney’s lawyers who say the allegations are further evidence as to why her conservatorship should be urgently ended.
‘Mr. Spears has crossed unfathomable lines,’ said Rosengart, in a court filing on Monday in advance of a hearing on the conservatorship scheduled for Wednesday.
‘While they are not evidence, the allegations warrant serious investigation, certainly by Ms. Spears as, among other things, California is a ‘two-party’ consent state.’
His furious remarks were a reference to a New York Times documentary released on Hulu Friday detailing the surveillance claims.
Alex Vlasov, a former employee of Black Box Security, told The New York Times in a new documentary that the 39-year-old Spears’s phone calls and messages were secretly recorded as part of her 13-year conservatorship, overseen by her father.
Rosengart further told the paper that the allegations made by Vlasov warranted urgent inquiry.
He said it was yet further evidence of the mistreatment of the singer, who on June 23 told the court she was forced to have birth control implants; was forbidden from driving her car; and had no say in her most basic life decisions.
‘Placing a listening device in Britney’s bedroom would be particularly inexcusable and disgraceful, and corroborates so much of her compelling, poignant testimony.
‘These actions must be fully and aggressively investigated.’
He said in Monday’s court documents that he intends to depose the 69-year-old, and that if he plead the Fifth Amendment it would be damning.
It is unclear whether the court which managed the conservatorship had approved the recordings.
Britney Spears has not commented on the specific allegations that she was secretly recorded, but in an Instagram post on Monday said that the documentary, Controlling Britney Spears, had many factual errors.
‘I watched a little bit of the last documentary and I hate to inform you but a lot of what you heard is not true!!!’ she said.
Britney is pictured on stage in London in August 2018, during the Piece of Me tour
The pair have been together since they filmed Spears’s music video for ‘Slumber Party’ in 2016
The Spears family have been torn apart by fights over the pop singer’s career and fortune. Last year, she began the legal process to remove him from handling her personal affairs and in June testified in Court, but her request was denied.
But the family resentment exploded this summer when Britney addressed a court and pleaded to end the arrangement, claiming that she had been taken advantage of by her entire family.
Jamie Spears has been paying himself $16,000 a month since 2008 to manage his daughter’s multimillion dollar fortune.
He argued in court in early August that he should not be removed but days later filed a petition for the conservatorship to come to an end.
Rosengart, said at the time it was ‘a vindication for Britney’.
‘We are pleased that Mr. Spears and his lawyer have today conceded in a filing that he must be removed,’ he said. ‘It is vindication for Britney.’
The court filings come as Britney’s former bodyguard claimed she is living ‘like an inmate in a golden prison’ as the singer has her phone calls monitored and is not allowed out unsupervised
Britney Spears with her then manager Larry Rudolph in Las Vegas in 2013. He resigned in July amid the ongoing conservatorship battle
Meanwhile Britney’s former best friend Sean Phillips has said the popstar is itching to return to performing after refusing to appear on stage until the conservatorship was ended.
‘She’s a performer at heart’, he said. ‘She’s a genius at performing, she’s so good at what she does, she does it so effortlessly and I know that’s what she loves to do.
‘But I do believe that she’s doing the right thing, she needs to have control over her own career and I would do the same thing if I was her with that talent. So I would hold out until I knew I had complete control of it.’
Philips said he thought Spears’ had coped well with ‘strange… external influences’ and added he was ‘proud of her for what she’s doing now and trying to take control of what’s going on.
‘I hope Britney gets control of her life, she gets confidence in controlling her career and her family. Somehow, even if it’s down the road, that’s what I hope happens.’
TIMELINE OF BRITNEY’S COMPLEX CONSERVATORSHIP AND HOW IT BEGAN
Britney with her father, brother and mother in 2006. Her parents separated
2002: Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears divorce.
Britney breaks up with Justin Timberlake around the same time.
2004: Britney marries Kevin Federline.
2007: Britney, struggling through a custody battle and split with Kevin, shaves her head and attacks a paparazzo’s car.
2008: Jamie Spears files for conservatorship of Britney, claiming she is not legally well enough to make her own decisions.
Britney in 2008 for a custody hearing as part of her split with Kevin Federline. Jamie Spears in court in 2008 getting the conservatorship
2009-2019: QUIET CONSERVATORSHIP YEARS
The conservatorship – which had been temporary – is extended every year.
In court papers, Jamie’s attorneys describe how she is making more money
JANUARY 2019: THE ARRANGEMENT STARTS TO CRUMBLE
Britney in 2019, in the grips of the conservatorship, in Las Vegas at her residency
Britney announces an ‘indefinite’ work hiatus and cancels her lucrative Las Vegas residency.
Jamie files paperwork asking for the conservatorship to be extended beyond California, to apply in Hawaii, Louisiana and Florida as well
He steps down as her primary conservator after allegations he abused one of her sons but is still listed as one of those in charge
EARLY 2020: Britney, Jamie and Jamie-Lynne are in Louisiana together for two weeks.
The #FreeBritney movement is picking up.
His attorneys claim everyone is happy together and enjoying spending time together in quarantine.
NOVEMBER 2020: Britney’s attorneys claim in papers that she’s afraid of her father and they ask for Bessemer Trust to be put in charge.
Her fans start speculating over her cryptic Instagram posts and videos that she wants a way out.
DECEMBER 2020: The conservatorship is extended until September 2021.
FEBRUARY 5, 2021: Framing Britney Spears debuts on Hulu.
The conservatorship that Britney was put under is ordinarily used in situations where older, perhaps senile people, can no longer look after their own affairs.
Fans are concerned for her well-being and have demanded that she be released from the control of her father, Jamie
It gives control over to an appointed conservator for the best interest of the recipient but in most cases, the recipient is not healthy enough to make their own money, unlike Britney who makes millions. Under the rules of the probate conservatorship, Jamie now has equal control over her estate to a third party and an attorney, Andrew Wallet.
Wallet derives a salary of $426,000 a year from Britney’s estate.
He, Jamie and the third party who was brought on recently can make deals on her behalf and restrict her visitors.
JUNE 23, 2021 – BRITNEY SPEAKS OUT IN COURT
Britney and her boyfriend Sam Asghari
In emotional testimony, Britney told the court that she had suffered psychologically for years as a result of the conservatorship which she said was so restrictive, she wasn’t allowed to remove her IUD birth control.
JUNE 30, 2021 – JUDGE DENIES BRITNEY’S REQUEST TO REMOVE JAMIE
Judge Brenda Penny, responding to Britney’s November 2020 request, refuses to remove Jamie from the agreement.
She doesn’t say why but she does invite her attorney to file paperwork to end it, which he doesn’t.
JULY 1, 2021 – BESSEMER TRUST RESIGNS AFTER BEING PUT IN CHARGE WITH JAMIE
A day after the judge’s ruling, Bessemer Trust, which had been brought on, resigned, saying they were never aware that Britney wanted to end the conservatorship.
In a court filing, the company’s attorneys said: ‘We heard her and respect her wishes.’
JULY 5, 2021 – BRITNEY’S LONG-TIME MANAGER RESIGNS
Larry Rudolph wrote a letter to Jamie and the conservatorship to say he was no longer needed since Britney wanted to retire.
He said he hadn’t spoken to her for two years but had been told by others that she wanted to step down.
JULY 6, 2021 – BRITNEY’S ATTORNEY STEPS DOWN
Sam Ingham, the attorney appointed to represent Britney in 2008, steps down after failing to file paperwork to terminate the conservatorship, despite her pleas.
JULY 14, 2021 -BRITNEY WINS RIGHT TO CHOOSE HER OWN LAWYER
A Los Angeles court granted Britney the right to choose a lawyer to help her end her conservatorship, after she told a judge the current situation was ‘allowing my dad to ruin my life’. She has chosen former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart as her new attorney.
JULY 23, 2021 – BRITNEY FLASHES HER BOOBS ON INSTAGRAM
Singer’s semi-nude post was hailed by fans including Paris Hilton as evidence of her determination to become a ‘free woman’.
JULY 27, 2021 – LYNNE SPEARS AGREES TO TESTIFY IN SUPPORT OF HER DAUGHTER
The singer’s mother’s attack on Jamie Spears gives her a powerful new ally in her bid to be freed.
AUGUST 12, 2021 – JAMIE SPEARS AGREES TO STEP DOWN AS CONSERVATOR
Jamie’s lawyers filed court documents saying that he will step down, and provide an orderly transition to another conservator.
He said that he was doing so because he felt a public argument with his daughter was not in her best interests.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2021 – JAMIE SPEARS FILES TO END THE CONSERVATORSHIP
Jamie states that his daughter ‘is entitled to have this Court now seriously consider whether this conservatorship is no longer required.’
The filing went on to say that Britney Spears’ circumstances have changed ‘to such an extent that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship may no longer exist.’
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 – BRITNEY DUE BACK IN COURT