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Los Angeles Superior Court decided to permanently terminate the “abusive” legal custody that kept Britney Spears and her fortune under the total control of her father James Spears for more than 13 years on Friday. The ruling gave Spears her freedom “immediately effective.”
Judge Brenda J. Penny approved the request by Spears’ attorney Mathew Rosengart, former U.S. Attorney, ending a legal battle full of revelations about the abuse and exploitation that the 39-year-old star was subject to for more than a decade.
Dozens of fans celebrated outside the courthouse, where they gathered to await the announcement of the decision. Britney said on her social networks that she would “cry out for the rest of the day.” She also used the hashtag #FreedBritney in direct allusion to the persistent and passionate #FreeBritney movement.
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The end of an “abusive” guardianship
The guardianship encompassed control of her personal life, personal and medical decisions and control of her finances, which managed her million-dollar fortune. Such a measure is usually assigned to elderly people with senile dementia.
According to Britney’s own testimony, the people in charge drugged her with lithium, forced her to work, put her in rehab against her will and even implanted a contraceptive device to frustrate her desire to have more children.
“Your honor, this is not just abuse, this is fucking cruelty,” Spears told Judge Penny in July, after telling the court that her father even forbade her from drinking coffee and taking hair vitamins.
A New York Times documentary also revealed that James Spears monitored Britney’s private conversations through microphones and listening devices installed in her bedroom.
At a press conference held at the end of Friday’s hearing, Rosengart said James Spears took between $3 million and $4 million of Britney’s fortune, in addition to taking a self-imposed salary of thousands of dollars and a percentage of all the singer’s shows.
However, Rosengart pointed out that the decision to investigate James Spears for his abusive behavior would be up to the pop icon, who announced during her July hearing that she intended to sue her father for “custodial abuse.”
Britney Spears case has brought the issue of legal guardianship into the public debate, provoking reactions on both sides of the political spectrum. The debate even led to a legislation introduced with bipartisan support to protect citizens who are subject to legal custody.
Finally, the pop superstar’s future is in her own hands.