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Britney Spears Compares Conservatorship To 'Slavery,' 'Sex Trafficking,' Asks Judge To Free Her During Hearing

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — At a hearing Wednesday in Los Angeles that took place virtually, Britney Spears asked a judge to release her from a conservatorship primarily controlled by her father.

The conservatorship -- also called a guardianship in some states --  sparked the #FreeBritney movement. It was put in place after Spears' had a mental health crisis in 2008.

According to California law, a conservatorship is put in place for people who are "unable to provide properly for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter," or for someone who is "substantially unable to manage his or her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence."

Speaking by phone, Spears referred to the conservatorship as "abusive" and said, "The only thing comparable is sex trafficking," according to the court transcript.

The last time Spears addressed the court was in 2019 and she said she didn't feel that she was heard at that time.

In an emotional and sometime profanity-laced statement, the pop star condemned her father and others who have been in charge of the 13-year long conservatorship and asked to be released from the arrangement without an evaluation.

"I feel ganged up on, bullied and alone. I need your help," Spears told the judge.

Spears' statement went on for about 30 minutes and shed light on issues previously kept out of the public sphere by the court.

A particularly dramatic moment occurred at one point in the hearing when Spears shouted after an attorney representing the co-conservatorship suggested any medical information revealed in the transcript be kept private. Spears insisted that her words be public.

According to Spears, after she disagreed with a piece of choreography that was supposed to appear in her 2019 Vegas residency that was ultimately cancelled, she was forced to take lithium. She made a point of adding that she's not a slave to anyone and is allowed to say no to a dance move.

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A crowd of fans and supporters of the #FreeBritney movement could be seen outside the courthouse. Many held signs that read "Get out of Britney's life" and "Free Britney now!"

"She isn't able to do simple tasks like getting her nails done. She can't getting married. She can't have a baby. She wants to do that. So, it's interesting to finally hear her say that because for years it's been, 'I'm fine, I'm fine,' but she's not," Spears fan Kieran Bonilla said outside of the courthouse.

After a brief recess, Vivian Thoreen provided a statement on behalf of James Spears, the pop star's father.

"He is sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain," the attorney said. "Mr. Spears loves his daughter, and misses her very much."

The pop star said that her father loved to control her life and that she believes her family has done nothing to help her. She also said she'd like to sue them.

"After I've been telling the world I'm okay...I'm not. I'm not happy. I can't sleep. My dad and anyone involved involved in this conservatorship...they should be in jail," Spears said. "I shouldn't be in a conservatorship if I can work and earn money. I have worked since I was 17-years-old. I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don't feel like I can have a full life."

According to court records, Spears' estimated wealth is around $50 million. California law requires Spears prove that she is competent in order to be released from the conservatorship.

Spears has not performed live since 2018 and her attorneys have said she won't while her father remains in control.

Attorneys and all parties agreed during the hearing that they will meet and come up with further dates for future proceedings.

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