Britney Spears: Singer's father must share power over her conservatorship, judge rules

The singer's lawyer reiterated that Spears does not want her father as her co-conservator at all after Thursday's hearing

In this combination photo, Jamie Spears, father of singer Britney Spears, leaves the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Oct. 24, 2012, in Los Angeles, and Britney Spears arrives at the premiere of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" on July 22, 2019, in Los Angeles. Attorneys for the two sparred Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, over how he should share power with a financial company newly appointed as his partner in the conservatorship that controls her money. (AP Photo)
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Attorneys for Britney Spears and her father sparred on Thursday over how he should share power with a financial company newly appointed as his partner in the conservatorship that controls her money.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny overruled an objection of Jamie Spears's attorney, Vivian Lee Thoreen, who argued that he should not yield previously granted rights and powers while working with his new co-conservator, The Bessemer Trust.

Thoreen had argued that the proposed order Britney Spears's court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham, drafted to appoint the new co-conservator was “unclear and ambiguous by design” as he seeks to take authority away from Jamie Spears.

In a statement after the hearing, Thoreen said “the rulings show the court's confidence in our client Jamie Spears and Bessemer Trust to manage the conservatorship of Ms Spears estate together" and said Jamie Spears “looks forward to working with Bessemer ... in the best interests of his daughter".

While the judge's decision can be seen as a minor victory for Britney Spears, 39, and Ingham, appointed by the court to speak directly for her in the conservatorship’s decisions, Ingham repeated that her goal is to have her father out entirely.

“It is no secret that my client does not want her father as co-conservator,” Ingham said. “But we recognise that removal is a separate issue.”

The judge declined Ingham's request to suspend Jamie Spears as conservator at a dramatic and contentious hearing in November, at which Ingham said that Britney Spears feared her father and refused to resume her career so long as he had power over it. Thoreen said the statements were inadmissible hearsay that did not reflect the reality of the situation.

Penny instead appointed the Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator, leading to the current fight over power-sharing.

Supporters of singer Britney Spears gather outside a courthouse as a judge hears the singer's temporary conservatorship case during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 11, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Supporters of Britney Spears gather outside an LA courthouse on Thursday. Reuters

The hearing came in the wake of the release of the FX and Hulu documentary The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney. The documentary's historical look at the circumstances that led to the establishment of the conservatorship in 2008 have spurred sympathy for Britney Spears and brought greater attention to the case.

At Thursday’s hearing, Thoreen emphasised that Britney Spears asked for and approved of her father’s role as recently as 2019.

Jamie Spears has repeatedly emphasised the need for the conservatorship in order to protect his daughter from those who would, or already have, preyed on her.

“My client Jamie Spears has diligently and professionally carried out his duties as one of Britney's conservators,” Thoreen said, “and his love for his daughter and dedication to protecting her is clearly apparent to the court.”

Britney Spears did not take part in part in the hearing. She rarely appears in court and has not performed, recorded music or made media appearances since declaring a career hiatus early in 2019.

On her Twitter and Instagram accounts on Tuesday, she shared a video of a performance from three years earlier with the caption: “I’ll always love being on stage …. But I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person … I love simply enjoying the basics of every day life!"