Judge denies Britney Spears’ request to remove father from conservatorship

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has denied a request by Britney Spears to remove her father as conservator of her $60 million estate.

Spears’ request to immediately suspend James “Jamie” Spears and appoint a financial institution as sole conservator of the pop-singer’s estate “is denied without prejudice,” Judge Brenda Penny ruled on Wednesday, according to NBC News.

The ruling, however, was not a result of the most recent hearing, and was instead made on a request from November in which Spears’ attorney filed to add Bessemer Trust to serve as co-conservator alongside the singer’s father, CNN reported.

It’s unclear what legal recourse the star might have going forward following her emotional court testimony last week when the 39-year-old artist revealed that she had been living unhappily under the conservatorship for more than a decade, saying it has controlled her life and finances and that the arrangement was overly restrictive and abusive.

Spears aired a litany of grievances, including that she had been forced to perform live shows, made to take medications against her will, and that she was prohibited from getting married and that she was forced to take birth control that prevented her from having more children.

“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive,” Spears said. “I want changes going forward,” she said. “I deserve changes.”

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

In response, the singer’s father, Jamie Spears, denied the allegations and filed a petition Tuesday to investigate the claims that his daughter raised, saying he has had no power over his daughter’s personal affairs for nearly two years.

“Given the nature of the allegations and claims, it is critical that that the court confirm whether or not Ms. Spears’ testimony was accurate in order to determine what corrective actions, if any, need to be taken,” the documents said.

In a separate court filing, Jamie Spears raised concerns about a temporary conservator named Jodi Montgomery, who was appointed to oversee the conservatorship in September 2019. Jamie Spears said it was possible that Montgomery’s management decisions did “not reflect” the singer’s wishes regarding her personal life.

“Mr. Spears is not the conservator of the person. He has not been the conservator of the person since September 2019,” the court filings says. “Ms. Montgomery has been fully in charge of Ms. Spears day-to-day personal care and medical treatment.”

In a statement, Montgomery’s lawyer, Lauriann Wright, said that her client “has been a tireless advocate for Britney and for her well-being,” adding that if Spears wants any issue brought up to the court, Montgomery “is and has always been ready, willing, and able to do so,” NBC News reported.

Wright also said the conservatorship never infringed on Britney Spear’s right to get married and have children.

Montgomery, whose appointment Britney Spears supported, is serving temporarily. The court was expected to make her role permanent, but one of James Spears’ filings says his daughter’s criticism of Montgomery last week suggests that she doesn’t want her in the role.

James Spears says that when he was conservator over his daughter’s personal decisions, he did everything in his power to support her well-being, including consenting to her getting married in 2012 and sharing conservatorship duties with her fiance. Spears was engaged to former manager Jason Trawick in 2012, but the couple broke it off in 2013.

Montgomery’s attorney Lauriann Wright said in a statement in response that “conservatorships in California are subject to the strictest laws in the nation to protect against any potential abuses,” and that Montgomery is “a licensed private professional fiduciary who, unlike family members who serve as conservators, is required to follow a Code of Ethics.”

Jamie Spears’ filing is also critical of Britney Spears’ personal attorney Samuel L. Ingham III, saying that he wrongly asserted in a recent filing that the court had found Spears did not have capacity to consent to medical treatment and is using that as a pretext for a court order taking away her right to give informed consent.

An email sent to Ingham seeking comment was not immediately returned.

While Britney Spears was critical of both Montgomery and Ingham in her impassioned speech of more than 20 minutes, she singled out her father for some of her most scathing criticism.

She accused him of relishing his power over her, as he showed when she failed a series of psychological tests in 2019 and forced her to go into a mental hospital.

“I cried on the phone for an hour, and he loved every minute of it,” Spears said. “The control he had over someone as powerful as me, as he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%.”

James Spears said through his lawyer at the hearing that he was sorry to see his daughter was in so much pain.

The Grammy-winning pop star was on vacation this past week and updated fans on her travels via Instagram where she posted a video montage of her recent adventures in Maui.

In the wake of her rousing testimony, an army of celebrities — including Spears’ sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, her former “Mickey Mouse Club” costar Christina Aguilera and some of her exes, Justin Timberlake and Kevin Federline — have spoken out on her behalf. The situation also led to the viral hashtag #FreeBritney.

Information provided by The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.