Britney Spears Sobs in Court Describing Dad’s ‘Abuse’
The star was also granted permission by a judge on Wednesday to hire a lawyer of her own choice in her heated conservatorship battle.
Three weeks ago, Britney Spears delivered an internet-breaking testimony about the horrors she has been forced to endure for the past 13 years under her conservatorship largely controlled by her father, Jamie Spears. Now, the pop star is finally being heard.
Spears was granted permission to hire a lawyer of her own choice on Wednesday afternoon by L.A. County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny, who had 15 petitions and motions before her at the court hearing.
At one point, Spears suddenly addressed the judge, pleading once more to have her father immediately removed from the conservatorship immediately, saying she was “extremely scared” of him.
“This conservatorship has allowed my dad to ruin my life,” she sobbed, reported NBC. “I’m here to get rid of my dad and charge him with conservatorship abuse.”
The monumental development of Spears being able to hire her own attorney comes more than a decade after a previous judge sided with court-appointed attorney Samuel D. Ingham III, who claimed Spears was not of sound mind to hire her own counsel in 2008.
Spears is now being represented by former federal prosecutor turned Hollywood-go-to man Mathew Rosengart. He was spotted outside the courthouse hours before the scheduled hearing.
Judge Penny also granted Ingham’s motion to withdraw from Spears’ case after he was reportedly upset with Spears telling the courtroom that he never informed her that she could have requested to dissolve the conservatorship entirely. Ingham, according to court documents, was allowed to bill Spears’ estimated $60 million estate up to $10,000 per week, raking in an annual salary of $520,000 to represent the star.
“I didn’t know I could petition the conservatorship to be ended,” Spears professed in her 23-minute address to the court. “I’m sorry for my ignorance, but I honestly didn’t know that.”
“My attorney says I can’t—it’s not good,” she stated at another point. “I can’t let the public know anything they did to me. He told me I should keep it to myself, really.”
Although the court shuttered its remote audio broadcast program, largely in reaction to audio recordings of Spears’ testimony being shared on social media, many of the #FreeBritney supporters gathered outside Stanley Mosk Courthouse to stand in solidarity with the singer, including, in a bizarre act of political opportunism, embattled Florida congressman Matt Gaetz. “One thing we can all agree on is that Jamie Spears is a dick,” he told the crowd. (Gaetz will soon likely face his own legal battle.)
Rosengart and his high-powered firm being given the OK to represent Spears is the first step in what is expected to be a long and contentious fight to have her conservatorship completely disbanded.
In addition to Ingham stepping down, there have been other major shake-ups following Spears’ June 23 bombshell hearing. Last week, her longtime manager Larry Rudolph resigned, stating it had been more than two years since he last spoke with Spears, who at the time had informed him she wanted to take an “indefinite” hiatus from work.
“Earlier today, I became aware that Britney had been voicing her intention to officially retire,” he said in a statement. “As her manager, I believe it is in Britney’s best interest for me to resign from her team as my professional services are no longer needed.”
Days earlier, Bessemer Trust—the estate-management company tapped to be co-conservator in Spears’ estate—also requested to withdraw from the case. In court papers, the firm cited its decision was a direct result of Spears’ testimony, declaring it had “heard” Spears’ anguish and wanted to “respect her wishes.”
But still the biggest hurdle in Spears’ battle will be removing Jamie from the conservatorship entirely.
Spears stressed that she believed the conservatorship was “abusive” and likened her situation to being “trafficked,” declaring, “I don’t feel like I can live a full life.”
The pop star also alleged that she is barred from having her IUD removed, is not allowed to marry, was made to take lithium that made her feel constantly drunk, was forced into performing and when she objected, was punished by being shut away in an expensive rehab.
“It’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end,” Spears pleaded.
Still, there has been no motion filed to fully remove Jamie, who likely isn’t going down without a long, expensive fight.
Currently, he’s waging war against Spears’ sometime conservator Jodi Montgomery, who was temporarily appointed to the position by the court in 2019. At the time, Jamie stepped down as conservator over Spears’ person due to “personal health reasons.” But he’s still largely involved with Spears’ conservatorship and is said to wield enormous power over everyone in Spears’ orbit.
He recently called for the court to open an investigation into his daughter’s claims, arguing that if Spears isn’t telling the truth, the conservatorship should be allowed to stay in place. Jamie then pointed the finger at Montgomery, claiming she had been in charge of the disturbing matters that Spears had detailed.
While Spears previously said she prefers to have Montgomery as conservator over her person, she told the judge that she believed even Montgomery was “starting to kind of take it too far with me.”
“It’s not okay to force me to do anything I don’t want to do,” Spears added. “By law, Jodi and this so-called team should honestly—I should be able to sue them for threatening me and saying if I don’t go and do these [therapy] meetings twice a week, we can’t let you have your money and go to Maui on your vacations.”
In response to Jamie demanding for an investigation to be opened into Spears’ claims, Montgomery has asked the court to deny his motion. Montgomery claimed in court papers that instead of working together to help put Spears on a “path to recovery” and to terminate the conservatorship, Jamie “decided it is time to start the finger-pointing and media attacks.”
“The mud-slinging by Mr. Spears and his new ‘It wasn’t me!’ strategy—after being her sole or co-conservator for more than 13 years—leaves Ms. Montgomery no other choice but to defend herself,” she wrote in her motion.
Montgomery also requested the court have Spears’ estate pay for security for her, claiming she was receiving death threats because she’s a part of Spears’ case. Jamie vehemently opposed the payout, essentially claiming he has endured the same treatment and Montgomery should simply get used to it.