On the same day Britney Spears’ longtime court appointed attorney submitted his resignation from the long running restrictive conservatorship, the multi-platinum singer’s mother is now seeking permission for her daughter to be able to hire new representation, sort of. The request comes as a temporary co-conservator in the woeful matter is also asking today for additional security after receiving threats of “violence and even death” in recent weeks.
“Petitioner Lynne Spears, interested party and mother of the Conservatee, hereby petitions this Court to listen to the wishes of her daughter, and as a first step, respectfully requests an Order granting permission to the Conservatee to hire her own private legal counsel, or, in the alternative, an Order appointing a private attorney of Conservatee’s choosing,” says the filing in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday from the matriarch’s own legal team (read it here).
“Appointment of independent counsel is mandatory at this juncture,” asserts Lynne Spears’ request of Judge Brenda Penny, which will likely be addressed at the increasingly jam packed July 14 hearing. Unlike Britney’s father Jamie, Lynne Spears has never held an official role in the controversial conservatorship, but is listed as an “interested party” for obvious reasons.
Praising her daughter for “baring her heart to the Court in an impassioned plea” to Judge Penny on June 23, Lynne Spears made it very clear which side she is on when it comes to whether the 13-year old conservatorship has passed its sell-by date.
“It is beyond dispute that this is a unique conservatorship,” the elder Spears says in the seven page petition. “In the original Petition for Appointment of a Temporary Conservator of the Person, Conservatee’s given address was the UCLA Medical Center,” she adds. “That was over thirteen years ago. Now, and for the past many years, Conservatee is able to care for her person and in fact has, inside of the parameters of this conservatorship, earned literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity.”
Spears’ mother goes on: “Her capacity is certainly different today than it was in 2008, and Conservatee should no longer be held to the 2008 standard, whereby she was found to ‘not have the capacity to retain counsel,'” Lynne Spears noted in a reiteration of remarks made in part publicly by her daughter a few weeks ago. The singer’s own attorney Samual Ingham III subsequently resigned from the conservatorship as Spears alleged he and others shad not been informing her of her full legal rights over the years. Britney Spears also said she liked “Sam,” but wanted to choose her own lawyers going forward.
Temporary co-conservator Jodi Montgomery chimed in today too, admitting Britney Spears had asked for her assistance in getting a new lawyer. “While Ms. Montgomery is always driven to help Ms. Spears in whatever way she can, there is no question that Ms. Montgomery’s input on Ms. Spears’ counsel is beyond her powers as the Conservator of the Person and is inappropriate in light of Ms. Spears’ recent criticisms of her conservatorship,” Montgomery said in her “Petition for the Appointment of a Guardian ad Litem.”
“Rather than the Court once again appointing Ms. Spears’ attorney from the Court’s CAC Panel without her input or subjecting the Conservatee to another evaluation against her wishes, Petitioner instead asserts that a GAL appointed under Probate Code 372 for the limited purpose of assisting Ms. Spears in her selection of private counsel is necessary to both give Ms. Spears a voice as to the selection of her counsel as well as to protect her best interests,” stated the licensed private professional fiduciaries just day after Spears previous lawyer essential left.
Ingham’s departure was preceded on July 6 by the singer’s manager Larry Rudolph informing remaining co-conservator Jamie Spears and temporary co-conservator Jodi Montgomery that he was exiting his role in the performer’s career. After her lucrative Las Vegas residency, Spears had seemingly given up performing in 2019 for a “hiatus.” That now looks likely to be permanent. And just days before Rudolph’s departure, wealth management Bessemer Trust was the first to jump ship. The big ticket firm successfully petitioned the court on July 1 to let it step down from the co-conservatorship perch it had jut been confirmed in.
In the case of Bessemer Trust, the company said “as a result of the Conservatee’s testimony at the June 23 hearing …Petitioner has become aware that the Conservatee objects to the continuance of her Conservatorship and desires to terminate the conservatorship.” It went on to say: “Petitioner has heard the Conservatee and respects her wishes.”
Having been under the thumb of her sometimes-estranged father and a revolving door of co-conservators since her very public distress back in 2008, the once Princess of Pop was extremely straightforward about her wishes on June 23 – not to mention what she thought of the arrangement and its future.
“This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good,” Spears told the assembled officials and onlookers in a packed DTLA courtroom last month. “I deserve to have a life,” she added in an occasionally rambling and hurried 20-minute statement. Comparing her situation to sex trafficking, Spears also revealed her POV on the conservatorship and its control over her more than $50 million fortune, career, relationships and even if she can get married or have an implated IUD removed. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive … I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated. I want to petition to end the conservatorship.”
New lawyers could play a major role in fulfilling those wishes. However, despite the hearing last month and years of pushback against the conservatorship, according to a recent New York Times investigation, Spears has still not yet filed any formal paperwork to terminate the arrangement or significantly alter it.
On the other hand, temporary co-conservator Montgomery today filed her own paperwork looking for the Spears estate to “pay for additional security expenses.”
“Since the June 23, 2021 status hearing, which was illegally broadcasted, streamed, and replayed to an incredibly wide audience, there has been a marked increase in the number and severity of threatening posts about Petitioner on all social media platforms as well as text messages, phone calls, and emails directed to the Petitioner personally,” Montgomery’s lawyer Lauriann Wright wrote to Judge Penny. Montgomery has overseen much of Spears’ personal and medical matters since 2019. “Security has determined the security risk to be serious enough to recommend that 24/7 physical security be provided to Petitioner on an interim basis in order to protect her from harm and until such time as Petitioner can make certain security improvements at her home office/residence,” read the document.
“The cost of physical security, although deemed urgent and necessary at this time for Petitioner, is cost-prohibitive for Petitioner to personally bear. Unless and until this Court approves the expense, Petitioner remains personally liable for it. Thus, we are asking this Court to approve the expense as soon as possible via this ex parte petition.”
On July 6, Montgomery was explicit that she — unlike Ingham, Rudolph and others — wasn’t leaving the conservatorship any time soon, even though Spears herself had griped about her on June 23.
“Ms. Spears as recently as yesterday has asked Ms. Montgomery to continue to serve,” Wright said on Tuesday. “Ms. Montgomery will continue to serve as a conservator for as long as Ms. Spears and the Court desire her to do so.”
How long that remains the case is the $50 million dollar question.
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