The “monumental” ruling frees the pop star from a legal arrangement that granted her father control of her estate
The Los Angeles Superior Court has sided with pop star Britney Spears in her high-profile fight to be released from a 13-year conservatorship that gave her father, Jamie Spears, control of her US$60m estate.
In a decision released on Wednesday, Judge Brenda Penny described the situation as “untenable,” and said that it “reflects a toxic environment which requires the suspension of James Spears effective today.”
The conservatorship was first established in 2008. According to Page Six, the Grammy winner had been battling the arrangement in private, but the matter was made public in a 23 June hearing where she described the conservatorship as an abusive arrangement where she was drugged, made to take birth control and pressed to perform against her will.
Subsequently, the legal fight gained traction among Ms. Spears’ fans and supporters under the slogan “Free Britney.”
Attorney Mathew Rosengart took on the case on Ms. Spears’ behalf after Penny allowed the singer to hire her own lawyer. Rosengart said that his goal was to dissolve the conservatorship completely, with a termination hearing scheduled for November.
Mr. Spears’ attorney, Vivian Thoreen, had argued against the suspension, given that Mr. Spears had already filed to dissolve the conservatorship and agreed to vacate the role of conservator. Thoreen called for Penny to grant Mr. Spears’ petition instead as it would align with what his daughter sought.
However, Rosengart countered that Mr. Spears’ request for dissolution came from a desire to avoid deposition – a process that would require the pop star’s father to turn over 13 years of documents that included attorney communications. Rosengart anticipated that the documents would reveal the extent of what he said was Mr. Spears’ corruption while acting as Ms. Spears’ conservator.
“What today was about was suspending Jamie Spears, receiving the files, receiving the communications between Jamie Spears and his representatives and we succeeded in every regard on all of those fronts,” Rosengart said in an out-of-court statement published by Page Six. “This was a monumental win for Britney and for justice.”
Looking ahead to the November termination hearing, Rosengart said that the singer and her father both agreed that the usual mental health evaluations conducted prior to the termination of a conservatorship would not be necessary.
In the meantime, CPA John Zabel has been named temporary conservator.