LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - On Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny suspended Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears, from the conservatorship that's controlled the singer's life, career and finances for 13 years.
Outside the courthouse, devoted fans of the pop star celebrated, cheering and embracing one another.
"Today is a great day. It's a great day for Britney Spears and it's a great day for justice. There's definitely something to celebrate, but it's also a solemn day. Britney Spears has been faced with a decade long nightmare, a Kafkaesque nightmare orchestrated by her father," Matthew Rosengart, Britney Spears attorney, said to the gathered crowd.
Referring to the current conservatorship arrangement, Superior Court Judge Penny said the situation was "untenable," and added, "It reflects a toxic environment, which requires the suspension of James Spears."
"This is what Britney's been wanting for 13 years, since 2008. So, I'm very happy for her," Britney fan Arthur Avitia said Wednesday outside the courthouse.
An accountant, John Zabel, was appointed to fill the role pending a hearing on whether Jamie Spears will be permanently ousted from the post. Jodi Montgomery, who the court appointed to oversee the singer's personal matters, will remain in place.
The Judge's decision followed impassioned pleas from Britney Spears' attorney, who accused the singer's father of widespread malfeasance in overseeing the pop star's financial affairs. He punctuated his arguments with allegations raised in a story published this week by The New York Times, including accusations that the singer's phone calls were being monitored and a recording device was placed in her bedroom.
Spears' attorney made it clear that it was important to his client to remove "toxic and cruel Jamie out of Britney's life."
The attorney for Jamie Spears attempted to appeal the suspension order, though the judge said the order could not be appealed. Jamie's attorney also called for an investigation of Zabel as he steps into the conservator role.
Fans swarmed the courthouse Wednesday for a rally, some even flying in from thousands of miles away. Shauna Acampora traveled from North Carolina to be in LA for the hearing.
"Could not be happier. We can't wait for the conservatorship to be over and we are happy that Jamie is out," Acampora said.
Spears herself was not present at Wednesday's hearing. She posted an image of herself flying in an airplane on social media after the decision came down, not addressing the news directly, though the imagery of her soaring free was not lost on fans.
"Just extremely emotional, tears immediately and lots of hugging and just happiness," Megan Radford, an organizer of the #FreeBritney movement said.
Jamie Spears will now have to turn over yeas of documents to the temporary conservator and activists hope they might uncover new details about her father's dealings with her finances.
"We just got rid of him," Radford said. "Jamie Spears was by far the biggest hurdle to Britney's freedom."
Jamie Spears' attorney has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing by the singer's father, and she disputed the allegations raised in The New York Times article.
Another hearing, set for Nov. 12, will be held to consider terminating the conservatorship altogether, which is something fans say they're hoping for.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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