Britney Spears’ attorney says Jamie Spears’ new court filing asking to end his daughter’s 13-year conservatorship represents a “massive” legal victory for his client — and also an attempted legal dodge by her father.
“It appears that Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice,” said Mathew S. Rosengart, the singer’s lawyer, in a statement, “including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, but as we assess his filing (which was inappropriately sent to the media before it was served on counsel) we will also continue to explore all options.”
But Rosengart spun things positively about the meaning of the filing for his 39-year-old client, saying it “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”
Ahead of the case’s next hearing later this month, James “Jamie” Spears, through his legal team, filed his petition to end the conservatorship Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
“As Mr. Spears has said again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.”
The petition calls for both Jamie Spears and Jodi Montgomery, conservator of Britney Spears’ person, to be removed from those jobs and for the court to end the conservatorship after determining that it is no longer necessary.
“Ms. Spears recently testified that she did not know, at least in the past, that she could petition to end the conservatorship without submitting to a full psychological evaluation,” the document continues.
“Given Ms. Spears’ testimony, Mr. Spears does not know why a petition to terminate the conservatorship has not yet been filed. Mr. Spears, however, has heard his daughter, and she now is pleading for the Court to end the conservatorship. Mr. Spears believes that Ms. Spears is entitled to have this Court now seriously consider whether this conservatorship is no longer required.”
Since taking over as the singer’s counsel in July, Rosengart has filed a petition seeking to have Jamie Spears removed as conservator of the estate, after promising to move “aggressively and expeditiously” on Britney Spears’ behalf, and another seeking that the hearing on that petition be moved up from Sept. 29. The latter request was denied by the court.
Though Team Britney has not yet requested that the conservatorship be dismantled, Rosengart also filed a supplemental petition to the request that Jamie Spears be removed as conservator, emphasizing that the court should consider what’s in the singer’s best interest.
In the document, personal conservator Montgomery is quoted as saying in sworn testimony that it was her “strong opinion and recommendation that the persons serving as Ms. Spears’ conservators not be family members” and that Jamie’s removal was “critical” to the singer’s “emotional health and well-being.”
Multiple sources told TMZ on Wednesday that a month ago, Jamie Spears was concerned that his daughter’s mental health was deteriorating. If those sources are accurate, it would mean his new petition, filed by attorney Vivian Thoreen, represents a complete about-face.
A document filed by Thoreen on Aug. 12 — one that was reported by many outlets as Jamie agreeing to step down, but was at its core an objection to him being removed as conservator — stated that he was willing to step down as part of an “orderly transition,” with conditions that included keeping him on as conservator until potentially years of accounting work was complete.
Thoreen did not respond immediately to a request for comment Wednesday.
Jamie Spears was accused of misconduct in Britney’s Aug. 30 filing, which sought to remove him as conservator of her estate, though not to end the conservatorship entirely.
The supplemental petition stated that “although Mr. Spears has for more than a decade evidently engaged in abusive and bullying conduct while also elevating his own personal and financial interests above those of his daughter, these issues of misconduct are not, at this time on this Petition, before the Court.”
“Britney Spears will not be extorted,” the document said, referring to Jamie’s Aug. 12 filing saying he would step down under specific circumstances. “Mr. Spears’s blatant attempt to barter suspension and removal in exchange for approximately $2 million in payments, on top of the millions already reaped from Ms. Spears’s estate by Mr. Spears and his associates, is a non-starter.”
Throughout the most recent part of the legal battle, since Britney traded court-appointed counsel Sam Ingham III for Rosengart, whom she was allowed to choose, Jamie Spears had maintained that there was no legal reason to remove him as conservator. The current finding indicates no change on that count.
Rosengart, however, has in his filings repeatedly mentioned a future desire to depose Jamie Spears to determine whether the 69-year-old is, per the July 26 filing, “guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance warranting the imposition of surcharges, damages, or other legal action against him.”
The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 29 in downtown L.A., with proceedings already underway to handle seating and media coverage of the event.