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Britney Spears’ father Jamie Spears has agreed to step away from his role as conservator of her estate just weeks after her new legal team filed a petition to remove him and replace him with a CPA, but the exact timing of that transition remains unclear.
After 13 years of widespread scrutiny but little movement, the circumstances surrounding Spears’ conservatorship have rapidly changed in the past two months. It all started when she gave more than 20 minutes of emotional testimony in a June 23 hearing. She told L.A. County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny she was traumatized but she’s been putting on a brave face for her fans. “I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m OK and I’m happy,” Spears said. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don’t feel like I can live a full life.”
During the July 14 hearing in which Mathew Rosengart was approved to replace Samuel D. Ingham as Spears’ attorney, the singer shared additional comments that made clear she wasn’t happy with her father’s involvement and accused him of conservatorship abuse. Later that month, Spears’ legal team filed a petition seeking to appoint Jason Rubin as the successor to the conservator of Spears’ estate. Rubin, whose background includes financial elder abuse litigation and considerable forensic accounting experience, would join Jodi Montgomery who says Spears has asked her to stay on as conservator of her person.
Jamie Spears’ attorney Vivian Thoreen on Thursday filed a response to the petition for his removal. It pushes back on many of the allegations of wrongdoing, and says there are “no factual grounds” for suspending or removing him — but, nonetheless, he agrees it’s time to stop the fight.
“It is highly debatable whether a change in conservator at this time would be in Ms. Spears’ best interests. Nevertheless, even as Mr. Spears is the unremitting target of unjustified attacks, he does not believe that a public battle with his daughter over his continuing service as her conservator would be in her best interests,” writes Thoreen in the filing. “So even though he must contest this unjustified Petition for his removal, Mr. Spears intends to work with the Court and his daughter’s new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator. As the Court has likely surmised, before Ms. Spears’ new attorney arrived, Mr. Spears had already been working on such a transition with Ms. Spears’ former court-appointed counsel, Sam Ingham.”
The filing says Jamie Spears hopes to work with Britney’s new legal team to finalize the pending accounting paperwork and help ensure a smooth transition.
“When these matters are resolved, Mr. Spears will be in a position to step aside. But there are no urgent circumstances justifying Mr. Spears’ immediate suspension,” writes Thoreen. “Regardless of his formal title, Mr. Spears will always be Ms. Spears’ father, he will always love her unconditionally, and he will always look out for her best interests.”
Rosengart on Thursday issued a statement describing Jamie’s decision to step away as “a major victory for Britney Spears and another step toward justice.”
His statement makes clear, though, that the fight isn’t over.
“We are pleased that Mr. Spears and his lawyer have today conceded in a filing that he must be removed. We are disappointed, however, by their ongoing shameful and reprehensible attacks on Ms. Spears and others,” he said. “We look forward to continuing our vigorous investigation into the conduct of Mr. Spears, and others, over the past 13 years, while he reaped millions of dollars from his daughter’s estate, and I look forward to taking Mr. Spears’s sworn deposition in the near future. In the interim, rather than making false accusations and taking cheap shots at his own daughter, Mr. Spears should remain silent and step aside immediately.”
While Jamie’s agreement to step aside in the future is dominating headlines and it is a significant development, functionally the filing is an opposition to the petition to remove him. The hearing on that petition is still scheduled for Sept. 29.
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