Jamie Spears has been suspended as the conservator of his daughter Britney’s estate.
On Wednesday, a Los Angeles judge kicked Jamie Spears off the conservatorship that’s been controlling her personal life and $60million fortune for the past 13 years.
It’s a huge victory for the 39-year-old singer in her long battle to regain control of her personal and financial affairs.
But full freedom won’t be immediate. While LA Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny ordered Jamie to step down today, she also appointed a temporary replacement conservator, accountant John Zabel.
Zabel – a Certified Public Accountant will take over Britney’s financial affairs until the court decides she’s ready to look after herself again and the conservatorship can be completely terminated – which could happen in just a few months.
In making her ruling, Judge Penny told the court, ‘I do believe that the suspension of James Spears is in the best instants of Ms. Spears.’
She added that pleadings by Britney’s legal team, ‘reflect a toxic environment that requires the suspension of Mr. Spears.’
Outside the court in downtown LA today, dozens of #FreeBritney supporters – filmed by an army of TV cameramen and photographers – gathered, waving banners saying ‘Stop the abuse’, and chanting ‘Free Britney’ and ‘Jamie for jail’.
And the fans of the embattled stars also signed a giant pink card – bearing the single word ‘Love’ in white – for their idol.
Now, the pop icon can pursue her desperate quest to end the conservatorship altogether and live her life as she wants – including marrying and having another child – without her father’s approval.
A judge ruled Wednesday to suspend Britney’s father Jamie Spears as her conservator
Britney, 39, was not in attendance at the hearing where a judge heard arguments for ending the conservatorship. Both of her parents Jamie and Lynn attended virtually via Zoom
Free Britney fanatics were seen outside the courtroom with posters rooting for the the singer to finally be freed from the 13-year conservatorship
A fan holds up a Free Britney sign ahead of Wednesday’s hearing where a judge heard arguments for ending the conservatorship
Sam Asghari, Britney’s fiancé, posted this picture to his Instagram story celebrating the pop star’s win in court today
Britney was not in attendance at the hearing where a judge heard arguments for ending the conservatorship. Both of her parents Jamie and Lynn attended virtually via Zoom.
Britney’s lawyer Matthew Rosengart delivered a powerful testimony, telling the judge that Jamie ‘cannot be in my client’s life for one more day.’
Rosengart was seeking a suspension, rather than a termination of the conservatorship, to keep Jamie from receiving a settlement and to allow an investigation into his time as Britney’s conservator.
Jamie, 69, has always insisted that he has only been protecting his daughter while running the conservatorship that pays him a monthly salary of $16,000
The hearing came hours after Britney’s lawyer called her father ‘a reported alcoholic and gambling addict’ in new legal documents.
Jamie, 69, has always insisted that he has only been protecting his daughter and looking out for her interests while running the conservatorship that pays him a monthly salary of $16,000.
And in documents filed by his attorneys prior to today’s hearing, he’s taken the position that there’s no reason to replace him since there is no evidence he did a poor job……And if the conservatorship is soon to be dissolved, there is no point in replacing him with a caretaker conservator, namely John Zabel.
Jamie blasted Zabel’s nomination, calling him a ‘layperson’ not qualified to supervise the finances of an internationally renowned entertainer like Britney.
He claimed Zabel had been swindled out of $1 million in a bogus real estate scam and asked, if he cannot protect his own money how is he going to look after Britney’s $60 million?
But Britney’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart – who nominated Zabel for the job – hit back in his own court filing, saying Zabel is a ‘nationally-recognized CPA (certified public accountant)…..in stark contrast to Mr. Spears, a reported alcoholic and gambling addict with 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 also weighed in on reports that the FBI has launched an investigation into claims in a New York Times documentary that Jamie hired a security firm to monitor and record Britney’s communications and spy on what went on in her bedroom, without her knowledge or consent.
Jamie has claimed that Britney knew about the surveillance at her home in California where both parties must consent to their conversation being recorded.
But Rosengart – who has accused Jamie of mismanaging Britney’s finances and profiting from the conservatorship – lashed out in a court filing Monday, saying, ‘Mr. Spears has crossed unfathomable lines,
‘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.’
‘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.’
The hearing came hours after Britney’s lawyer Matthew Rosengart called her father ‘a reported alcoholic and gambling addict’ in new legal documents
For more than a year, Britney has been calling for her father to be fired as her conservator and for an end to the conservatorship which she’s called ‘abusive’
Fans hold signs that read ‘Fry Jamie Fry’ and ‘I want my life back’ outside of the courtroom
A Free Britney supporter wears a hat and holds a flag Wednesday in front of the Stanley Mosk courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles
Rosengart followed up his court filing with a statement condemning the surveillance, saying, ‘Unauthorized recording or monitoring of Britney’s private communications…..represent an unconscionable and disgraceful violation of her privacy rights and a striking example of the deprivation of her civil liberties.’
The pop star has been under a conservatorship since she suffered a mental health breakdown in 2008. She’s seen in this infamous 2007 photo attacking paparazzi with an umbrella
For more than a year, Britney has been calling for her father to be fired as her conservator and for an end to the conservatorship which she’s called ‘abusive.’
She has said that she’s ‘afraid ‘ of her dad and declared that she would not perform again until he was no longer in charge of the conservatorship he’s been overseeing since her much-publicized breakdown in 2008.
One of her most heart-wrenching revelations came during a tearful phone appearance at Judge Penny’s court last June when she said that she wanted to have a baby with her fiancé, personal trainer Sam Asghari, but the strict conservatorship wouldn’t allow her to remove her IUD birth control.
‘I feel ganged up on and bullied and alone,’ Britney told the court during that emotional statement. ‘I just want my life back.’
She also told the judge that she felt ‘enslaved’ by her dad, whom she, added, ‘should be in jail.’
Last year, at her father’s request, the conservatorship (the one dealing with Britney’s personal affairs, not the conservatorship controlling her finances) was temporarily transferred from Jamie to her long-time caregiver Jodi Montgomery.
While he blamed his stepping down on health issues, Jamie’s decision came amid accusations that he had gotten into an altercation with Britney’s then 14 year-old son Sean Preston, now 16.
Kevin Federline – Britney’s ex and the father of Sean and his brother Jayden James,15 – made a police report and took out a restraining order against his former father-in-law after the incident in which, reportedly, a ‘very angry’ Jamie broke down the door of a room Sean had locked himself in and ‘shook’ the frightened teen.
Britney announced she and boyfriend Sam Asghari are engaged in this Instagram post
Now, the pop icon can pursue her desperate quest to end the conservatorship altogether and live her life as she wants – including marrying and having another child – without her father’s approval
Britney is pictured on stage in London in August 2018, during the Piece of Me tour
Britney was said to be furious over what happened and worried that the incident could jeopardize the joint custody agreement she has with Federline that already gives him a much larger percentage of time with the boys than she has.
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 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.’
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 – JAMIE SUSPENDED FROM CONSERVATORSHIP