Judge denies Britney Spears's request to remove father from conservatorship

In an unrelated filing, Jamie Spears tells a court he is not involved in 'personal care or medical or reproductive issues'

A judge has denied Britney Spears's request to have her father Jamie Spears be removed from her conservatorship.

While not related to last week's hearing, which saw the pop star give an explosive testimony, new court documents filed by the Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday show a judge deny a request filed by Britney's lawyer in November 2020.

In that filing, Britney stated she was “afraid of her father” and would refuse to perform again, if her father continued to be in charge of her career.

“The conservator’s request to suspend James P Spears immediately upon the appointment of Bessemer Trust company of California as sole conservator of estate is denied without prejudice,” the court documents filed Wednesday stated.

When the request was first filed in 2020, Judge Brenda Penny declined to suspend Britney's father from the conservatorship and appointed financial company Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator.

Wednesday's filing was for the judge to approve Bessemer Trust as the co-conservator, Variety magazine reports. In that filing, the judge maintained her decision to not remove Jamie from the conservatorship.

Last week, Britney gave a heartfelt 24-minute testimony, her first public statement since the conservatorship was instituted 13 years ago after she went through a very public breakdown. In her remarks, the singer called her father "ignorant" and controlling. "He loved every minute of it, the control he had. He loved it," she said.

She also claimed she was forced to take the drug lithium against her will and was prohibited from marrying or removing a birth control device, and that she wanted the "abusive" conservatorship to end.

In a new twist, Jamie asked for an investigation of the pop superstar's claims that she is being mistreated under a legal conservatorship by being denied the ability to make her own medical decisions.

TOPSHOT - A life-size cardboard cutout of Britney Spears in seen as fans and supporters gather outside the County Courthouse in Los Angeles, California on June 23, 2021, during a scheduled hearing in Spears' conservatorship case.  Pop singer Britney Spears urged a US judge on June 23, to end a controversial guardianship that has given her father control over her affairs since 2008.
"I just want my life back. It's been 13 years and it's enough," she told a court hearing in Los Angeles during an emotional 20-minute address via videolink.
 / AFP / Frederic J. BROWN

In a court filing on Tuesday, attorneys for Jamie said he was "greatly saddened to hear of his daughter's difficulties and suffering" and "believes there must be an investigation into those claims".

Jamie stepped down from the joint conservatorship role in September 2019 and care manager Jodi Montgomery, a licensed fiduciary, was appointed temporary conservator of personal affairs. In the Tuesday filing, Jamie said he had no intention of trying to reclaim the position and was not involved in her "personal care or medical or reproductive issues".

"Mr Spears has been unable to hear and address his daughter's concerns directly because he has been cut-off from communicating with her," the filing in Los Angeles Superior Court said.

The attorneys also asked the court to hold a hearing to investigate whether Montgomery should continue to oversee the singer's personal affairs given Britney's court testimony.

Montgomery's lawyer, Lauriann Wright, said her client "has been a tireless advocate for Britney and for her well-being" and would present a care plan to the court "setting forth a path for termination of the conservatorship".

She also said the conservatorship did not govern marriage or family planning. "If Britney needs any assistance with either, Ms Montgomery has and will be there to provide any assistance needed."

Britney's public statement last week has seen an outpouring of support from celebrities as well as fans who camped outside the court house in Los Angles.

The singer pleaded to the judge: “I just want my life back. And it’s been 13 years. And it’s enough."

– Additional reporting by Reuters

Updated: July 1st 2021, 6:29 AM
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