Less than two weeks after he was appointed, Britney Spears‘ new attorney has filed a petition to remove her father Jamie as conservator.
The singer’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, filed the petition in a Los Angeles court yesterday (July 26). As the New York Times reports, Rosengart’s filing cites a section of the probate code which gives the court the power to remove a conservator if it “is in the best interests” of the conservatee.
He added that “serious questions abound concerning Mr. Spears’ potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest, conservatorship abuse and the evident dissipation of Ms. Spears’ fortune”. Currently, Britney’s estate is footing the bill for both her and Jamie’s legal representation, as well as his salary as conservator.
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Rosengart has also requested certified public accountant Jason Rubin be appointed as the conservator of Spears’ estate, which includes cash assets of £1.95million ($2.7million) and non-cash assets of more than £41.2million ($57million).
Said Rosengart, “There might well come a time when the court will be called upon to consider whether the conservatorship should be terminated in its entirety and whether – in addition to stripping his daughter of her dignity, autonomy and certain fundamental liberties – Mr. Spears is also guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance warranting the imposition of surcharges, damages or other legal action against him.”
Jamie’s representatives have denied the allegations made by Britney about how she’s been treated while under conservatorship. In a landmark hearing in June, she claimed that she was forbidden from having more children, getting married or taking out her IUD. In one court filing, lawyers said Jamie “is simply not involved in any decisions related to Ms. Spears’s personal care or medical or reproductive issues”.
Additionally, earlier this month Jamie’s counsel said that he would not step away from the conservatorship when Rosengart called on him in court to voluntarily resign, and questioned the accuracy of Britney’s claims of abuse.
Rosengart was selected as Britney’s lawyer after her court-appointed attorney Samuel D. Ingham III resigned, and the court permitted her to choose her own legal representation. A week ago, Rosengart told the press that he and his firm were “moving aggressively and expeditiously” to file a petition to remove Jamie from the conservatorship.
While Britney wishes to end the conservatorship in its entirety without facing further evaluation, Rosengart said in the petition that his team is currently focusing on “the most pressing issue facing Ms. Spears: removing Mr. Spears as conservator of the estate”.
“Any father who genuinely loves his daughter and has her best interests at heart should willingly step aside in favor of the highly respected professional fiduciary nominated here,” Rosengart said, referring to the accountant Rubin.
The petition is supported by Britney’s current personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, and her mother, Lynne. In the filing, Lynne Spears reportedly said that the relationship between Jamie and Britney had “dwindled to nothing but fear and hatred” due to his “microscopic control” over her life.
Late last month, Judge Brenda Penny denied a “months old” petition, filed by Britney’s previous lawyer Ingham, to have Jamie removed as conservator.
Britney has spoken publicly about her issues with the conservatorship on multiple occasions in recent months. In a hearing on June 23, the singer labelled the arrangement as “abusive”.
“I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m OK and I’m happy,” she said. “It’s a lie. I thought I just maybe if I said that enough. Because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatised. You know, fake it till you make it.
“But now I’m telling you the truth, OK? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Following her remarks, Ingham resigned from his position as Britney’s lawyer, and so did the singer’s longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, who’d worked closely with Britney since 1997. Bessemer Trust, the wealth management firm that was set to become the co-conservator of her estate alongside Jamie, also backed out from the conservatorship.
In a July hearing, when Rosengart was approved as her new lawyer, Britney reiterated that she wants her father removed as co-conservator and to “charge him for conservatorship abuse”. On social media, she has since indicated she will not perform live while the current arrangement remains in place.