Britney Spears’ fight for her freedom took an unexpected turn Tuesday when her father, Jamie Spears, filed a formal court petition to end the legal conservatorship he has held over his daughter for more than 13 years.
In a surprise move, the singer’s father asked the Los Angeles Superior Court to give Britney back control of her professional life, finances and health, after a decade of “abusive” conservatorship according to his own statements to the court.
In the document, drafted and introduced by his attorney, Vivian Thoreen, Spears’ father says the conservatorship has helped Britney “rehabilitate and advance her career, and put her finances and her affairs in order,” but acknowledges that circumstances have changed.
“Ms. Spears is now outspoken in her frustration with the level of control imposed by a conservatorship, and has pleaded with this Court to ‘let her have her life back,'” Thoreen wrote in the document.
Later, counsel continues, “As Mr. Spears has said time and time again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter. If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the guardianship and believes she can take care of her own life, Mr. Spears believes she should be afforded the opportunity.”
Thoreen also cites Britney Spears’ statements to the court a couple of months ago, in which she said she was never aware of the possibility of seeking an end to the conservatorship. “Given Ms. Spears’ testimony, Mr. Spears does not know why a formal petition to terminate the conservatorship has not yet been entered.”
It was a dramatic reversal on the part of Jamie Spears, who has argued in court documents for years that his daughter was not ready to be free from conservatorship over her person and estate, and that he was the best person to fill the role of co-conservator.
But Jamie’s petition appears to have sided with Britney in her steadfast resistance to undergoing another psychological evaluation to end the conservatorship.
“His petition also argued that probate code doesn’t require Britney Spears to undergo a new psychological evaluation to terminate the guardianship, which she told the court she refuses to do,” the petition states.
In recent months, Britney has accused her father of “abusive” practices, refused to perform while he is in charge of her life and said she was “afraid” of him.
Brenda Penny, the probate judge overseeing the case, will have the final say on whether to terminate Britney’s conservatorship, with or without an evaluation.
A massive legal victory for Britney Spears
Mathew S. Rosengart, the new lawyer Britney chose to defend herself against her father, said Jamie Spears’ petition to terminate the conservatorship “represents a massive legal victory for Britney Spears, as well as vindication,” according to a blunt statement shared with Rolling Stone Magazine.
“Having exposed his misconduct and improper plan to hold his daughter hostage by trying to extract a multi-million dollar settlement, Mr. Spears has now effectively surrendered,” Rosengart continued.
“There is no settlement. To the extent Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, he is incorrect and our investigation into financial mismanagement and other issues will continue.”
The next hearing, at which Judge Penny is to rule on Jamie Spears’ continuation as conservator, is scheduled for Wednesday, September 29.