Liz Baker / NPR
Pop star Britney Spears has been living under a legal guardianship that has controlled every aspect of her life since 2008. For much of that time, all decisions about her personal, medical and financial situation have been completely controlled by her father. , Jamie Spears, who started the conservatorship 13 years ago – and whom the singer has accused of exploiting it.
In Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon, Judge Brenda J. Penny decided to suspend Mr. Spears as guardian of her daughter’s estate. John Zabel, a certified public accountant, will take over for now.
With this ruling, Judge Penny agreed to Britney Spears’ most inflexible request: to remove her father immediately. According to AP, the judge said during the hearing: “The current arrangement is untenable. It reflects a toxic environment that requires the suspension of James Spears.”
Since 2019, Ms. Spears’s guardian of the person, that is, the person who takes care of her personal decisions and her day-to-day life, has been a licensed personal fiduciary and a care professional named Jodi Montgomery. (In his own court documents, Montgomery has argued that his decisions are ultimately controlled by Jamie Spears, as he is responsible for paying his daughter’s bills and expenses.)
In July, Spears herself spoke to the court by phone at a hearing, asking for the guardianship to be terminated without having to undergo any further medical evaluation. In those comments, they went viral instantly, Spears accused her father of abusing her, saying that the guardianship exploited and “intimidated” her, and in particular her father.
Less than a week after Spears gave her emotional statement in court, Judge Penny denied The singer’s request that Jamie Spears be removed as a conservative of her finances. Since 2019, Jamie Spears has retained control of his estate, while a Licensed Personal Trustee and Named Care Professional Jodi Montgomery he has been responsible for the “person” of the singer, that is, her daily life and her personal decisions.
Last monthSpears’s father said in a court docket that he was willing to resign. However, it did not provide a timeline, instead stating that it would only do so “when the time is right.”
Britney Spears’ current attorney, Mathew Rosengart, has been pushing vigorously for her father to be removed immediately and for the guardianship to be removed. completely finished. Rosengart has argued in court documents that his position has been reinforced by a number of investigative reports in recent months, including two New York Times Documentaries available on Hulu: Framing Britney Spears and Controlling Britney Spears.
The second Times documentary released last Friday, a few days before the hearing on Wednesday. Featured a former cybersecurity specialist on Spears’ security team claiming that the security company he worked for monitored the pop star at his father’s request by installing listening devices in his bedroom at his California home and mirroring all his text messages and phone communications. According to the TimesThat surveillance captured the conversations Spears had with her former attorney, as well as her children, boyfriend and mother.
In a court docket Monday, Rosengart wrote: “Mr. Spears has crossed unfathomable lines. While not evidence, the allegations warrant a serious investigation, certainly by Ms. Spears, as, among other things, California it is a consent of ‘two-part’ state. “
In an earlier presentation, Rosengart said that over the past 13 years, the elderly Spears appears to have “benefited enormously” from being his daughter’s guardian. Rosengart has also stated that “serious questions about Mr. Spears ‘possible misconduct abound, including conflicts of interest, abuse of guardianship and the apparent dissipation of Ms. Spears’ fortune.”
Jamie Spears has repeatedly defended his decisions regarding his daughter and her estate. In a presentation earlier this month, her attorney, Vivian L. Thoreen wrote: “As Mr. Spears has said over and over again, all he wants is the best for his daughter. If Ms. Spears wants to finish the guardianship and believes that she can manage her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should have that opportunity. “