Britney Spears’ father Jamie will step down as the conservator of her estate, a victory for the pop star in her high-profile battle over the legal arrangement that controls much of her life.
Jamie Spears’ lawyers wrote in court filings first reported by TMZ, “Even as Mr. Spears is the unremitting target of unjustified attacks, he does not believe that a public battle with his daughter over his continuing service as her conservator would be in her best interests. So, even though he must contest this unjustified Petition for his removal, Mr. Spears intends to work with the Court and his daughter's new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator.”
Jamie’s attorneys hedged his imminent resignation somewhat, writing in the court filings, “When these matters are resolved, Mr. Spears will be in a position to step aside. But there are no urgent circumstances justifying Mr. Spears’ immediate suspension... It is highly debatable whether a change in conservator at this time would be in Ms. Spears’ best interests.” Jamie provided no timeline for his exit.
He also took aim at his ex-wife, Britney’s mother Lynne Spears.
“Instead of criticizing Mr. Spears, Lynne should be thanking him for ensuring Ms. Spears’ well-being and for persevering through the years-long tenure requiring his 365/24/7 attention, long days and sometimes late nights,” his lawyers said.
The singer’s attorneys responded with a statement saying that Jamie should “step aside immediately.”
“We are pleased that Mr. Spears and his lawyer have today conceded in a filing that he must be removed. It is vindication for Britney,” her legal team wrote.
Spears had filed to remove her father from the conservatorship late last month. Her legal team said it would pursue Jamie in the future as well.
“We look forward to continuing our vigorous investigation into the conduct of Mr. Spears, and others, over the past 13 years, while he reaped millions of dollars from his daughter’s estate, and I look forward to taking Mr. Spears’s sworn deposition in the near future,” her attorneys wrote.
Though his daughter has lambasted him for his role, Jamie praised his own conduct regarding his daughter’s public 2007 meltdown.
“Not only was she suffering mentally and emotionally, she was also being manipulated by predators and in financial distress. Mr. Spears came to his daughter's rescue to protect her,” his attorneys wrote.
Jamie took pains to lament his status as the villain in the saga of the conservatorship, which has played out both in public and private, as the court has sealed some documents in the case.
“If the public knew all the facts of Ms. Spears’ personal life not only her highs but also her lows, all of the addiction and mental health issues that she has struggled with, and all of the challenges of the Conservatorship, they would praise Mr. Spears for the job he has done, not vilify him,” Jamie’s lawyers wrote. “But the public does not know all the facts, and they have no right to know, so there will be no public redemption for Mr. Spears.”
The conservatorship has exerted a huge amount of control over Britney’s life for 13 years now, dictating where she would perform, where she could go, and what medications she took. The singer herself said in wrenching court testimony that she was unable to have an IUD removed despite wanting to have more children, though the conservator of her person said that allegation was not true.
The Spears family’s battle over the conservatorship has reached a boiling point in recent months, as has fans’ response to it. Protesters bearing #FreeBritney signs have appeared outside the Los Angeles courthouse where hearings have taken place, cheered the pop star’s victories en masse, and even sent death threats to the presiding judge.
Spears was silent on the fan efforts for years but has embraced them in recent months as she fought for legal control more fiercely, using the #FreeBritney hashtag on her own freewheeling Instagram.