LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The ACLU has joined with more than two dozen organizations to file an amicus brief in support of singer Britney Spears in her controversial conservatorship case.
The brief filed Tuesday calls on the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Brenda Penny to allow Spears to choose her own attorney in the case.
Spears has been represented by court-appointed attorney Samuel Ingham III for the 13-year duration of her conservatorship, although Ingham recently announced his intention to step down once a replacement is selected.
"Britney Spears has said that she wants to pick her own lawyer and the court should respect that wish," said ACLU staff attorney Zoë Brennan-Krohn in a statement Tuesday. "The court should ensure Spears has access to the tools she needs to make that choice meaningfully and to hire someone she trusts to advocate for her stated goal: to get out of her conservatorship. Spears's right to select an attorney is not only a basic tenet of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, but also consistent with principles of personal autonomy and agency. The California Superior Court must recognize Spears's autonomy and the rights of people with disabilities to live independent, self-directed lives as active members of their communities."
Other organizations which signed on to the brief included Disability Rights California, the Arc of the United States and the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making.
The ACLU has also filed a brief offering to help Spears pick a lawyer if she wishes.
According to TMZ, former federal prosecutor, Matthew Rosengart will work to fight for Spears' right to pick her own attorney, asking a judge to appoint him.
"Here is a very large law firm and a very well-known attorney stepping in," probate attorney Lisa MacCarley told CBSLA Tuesday. "He is going to aggressively advocate for the termination of this conservatorship, which is something which all of us, we were all wondering, why this didn't happen any sooner."
A Free Britney rally is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday outside the court house at the same time a hearing regarding the Spears' case is expected to start.
Spears has been under conservatorship since 2008. In her virtual testimony last month in L.A. County Superior Court, the 39-year-old lashed out at everyone involved in her conservatorship, accusing them of abusive treatment, forcing her to perform against her will and requiring her to take medications she did not want and undergo intensive therapy sessions.
Last week, Spears' longtime manager Larry Rudolph resigned. Rudolph said that he and Spears have not communicated for 2 ½ years.
Also in response to Spears' testimony, a financial management company that had recently come on as a co-conservator for Spears' estate asked the court to end its role.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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