Less than 24 hours after Britney Spears’ longtime manager tendered his resignation, the singer’s court appointed attorney and legal firm want out of the restrictive conservatorship that has controlled the former Princess of Pop’s life and career the past 13-years.
“SAMUEL D. INGHAM III hereby resigns as court-appointed counsel for BRITNEY JEAN SPEARS, conservatee, effective upon the appointment of new court-appointed counsel,” says a filing today in Los Angeles Superior Court by Ingham (read it here). The proposed exit by Ingham is aaccompanied by a move by firm Loeb & Loeb to leave the conservatorship too.
As with the withdrawal by wealth management company Bessemer Trust last week as the co-conservator of the financial aspect of Spears’s more than $50 million fortune and career, the resignation of the lawyer and the law firm will have to be approved by Judge Brenda Penny, who has been overseeing the probate matter for the past several years.
Slotted in to handle the money stuff for the younger Spears in conjunction with her father, Bessemer Trust asserted on July 1 that they had “heard the Conservatee and respects her wishes” to see the arrangement end or change. In fact, Bessemer Trust reveled that they thought Britney Spears wanted them involved and had consented to the conservatorship – which she has very clearly not.
After a number of incidents in public and private back in the dimming years of George W. Bush’s presidency, Spears was placed under the penalizing conservatorship in 2008. Ever since the unusual arrangement was instituted, Spears has had little to no control over her career, her personal affairs, her medical concerns, her money and, t least according to deeply disturbing statements she made to the court on June 23 via telephone, even her own body – which has an IUD in it that Britney Spears wants out.
At that same explosive DTLA hearing, the 39-year old Spears made it clear that she felt she had been either misinformed or left in the dark about her true rights under the conservatorship and California law. The “Toxic” singer also indicated that while she likes Ingham, she wanted to be able to decide herself who her representatives should be and not have them foisted upon her by her father, the courts or anyone else.
In the 20-minute appearance, Spears additionally said bluntly: ” I want my life back …I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive … I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated. I want to petition to end the conservatorship.”
Despite a New York Times piece that showed Spears had been in various stages of opposition to the conservatorship for years, the singer expressed in the June 23rd hearing that she only recently learned she could file paperwork to end or significantly altered the conservatorship, which is dominated by her estranged father Jamie Spears. Noticeably reeling from the revelations from his client, Ingham noted that he wasn’t sure how much longer he would be representing Spears when asked some follow-up and organizational queries by Judge Penny.
Still, even with all the spotlight on the conservatorship and Spears’ remote appearance and strong statements in court on June 23, there has been no paperwork filed with the court by Spears or her reps to tackle the actual conservatorship. Even if such paperwork was filed, it seems almost certain that Jamie Spears wouldn’t be quite so amenable to dropping it, which would be a whole other showdown with and without lawyers.
Behind the scenes, lawyer Ingham was supposedly very upset with Spears’ characterization of their relationship and what he did and did not tell her, a source close to events tells Deadline. Though Ingham was put in his role by the courts, the lawyer privately stresses he always had Spears best interest in the forefront – though what those best interests are may just be the sticking point here.
A replacement attorney could be appointed by or during the next hearing on the matter, which is set for July 14. However, before anyone gets their hopes up too high that this house of cards is about to come crashing down, Judge Penny last week rejected a petition submitted by Ingham for Spears seeking to toss her father off the conservatorship …and that was after the singer’s heart wrenching personal plea to the courts to free her. In a potentially telling move, the elder Spears early last week entered paperwork onto the court docket asking for a probe into the “serious allegations” that his daughter made about how her life is restrained – even though the younger Spears pretty much place a lot of that at his doorstep.
Correspondingly, despite some flack herself from Spears at that June 23 hearing, co-conservator Jodi Montgomery, who has been charge of the singer’s medical matters and the like since 2019, isn’t going anywhere.
“She remains committed to steadfastly supporting Ms. Spears in every way she can within the scope of her duties as a conservator of the person,” the licensed private professional fiduciary’s lawyer Lauriann Wright said in a statement Tuesday. “Ms. Spears as recently as yesterday has asked Ms. Montgomery to continue to serve. Ms. Montgomery will continue to serve as a conservator for as long as Ms. Spears and the Court desire her to do so.”