Britney Spears Freed: Judge Ends Controversial Conservatorship
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Friday decided to end the controversial conservatorship which singer Britney Spears has been under for more than a decade.
Judge Brenda Penny considered a petition for terminating the conservatorship that appears to have support from all sides, including Spears' father, Jamie Spears, who has been the conservator of his daughter's estate for the past 13 years.
The hearing began at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon, where Penny decided to formally end the conservatorship around 2:15 p.m.
Spears posted the following reaction to her Instagram after the news broke:
On Sept. 29, Penny suspended Jamie Spears from the conservatorship that has controlled his daughter's life, career and finances since 2008.
John Zabel, the accountant that was named to this position when Spear's father was suspended from the conservatorship, will remain in place as the temporary conservator. His primary goal will be to wrap up any financial issues that may be outstanding.
On Thursday night, Britney Spears' fiancé, Sam Asghari, posted a video to Instagram showing the couple wearing #FreeBritney T-shirts.
Britney Spears' attorney, Mathew Rosengart, has alleged an array of malfeasance on Jamie Spears' part, including allegations that he arranged to have listening devices secretly installed in the bedroom of his 39-year-old daughter.
Jamie Spears had been overseeing his daughter's estate since the conservatorship began, and the singer repeatedly demanded his removal from the role.
"If I'm a betting man, I would think that the conservatorship is probably going to be terminated," probate litigator Troy Martin told CBSLA Thursday. "There's just nobody there opposing it, and the court is likely to pick the easy way out."
The conservatorship case came to a head in June, when Spears gave explosive court testimony, lashing out at everyone involved in her conservatorship and 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.
In response to the testimony, a financial management company that had recently come on as a co-conservator for Spears' estate also asked the court to end its role. Spears' longtime manager Larry Rudolph also resigned. Rudolph said that he and Spears had not communicated for 2 ½ years.
In July, Penny approved the singer's request to hire her own attorney, Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor. Spears has been represented by a court-appointed attorney throughout the conservatorship.
The issue has launched the #FreeBritney movement and sparked many protests on Spears' behalf, calling for an end to the oversight over her life and affairs. Dozens of Spears supporters are expected outside the downtown L.A. court Friday.
Multiple bills are currently before the California legislature proposing conservatorship reform, including more oversight.
When Jamie Spears was suspended as conservator of the singer's estate in September, accountant Zabel was appointed to temporarily fill the role. Jodi Montgomery is still serving as temporary conservator of Britney Spears' personal matters since she took on that role in 2019.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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