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Britney Spears conservatorship battle returns to court today

Update: A Los Angeles judge has suspended Britney Spears' father Jamie Spears from the conservatorship that's controlled the singer's life, career and finances for 13 years.

Lawyers for Britney Spears and her father Jamie are back in court where a Los Angeles judge could decide whether to keep her father as a conservator or end the court-ordered arrangement after 13 years. The hearing began Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Earlier this month, Jamie said he was willing to step down from his role in the conservatorship and later filed a petition to end the arrangement altogether, saying "all he wants is what is best for his daughter." 

However, Britney's attorney, Matthew Rosengart, said the court's priority should be to remove her father from his position of power, claiming his presence causes Britney daily harm. In a recent filing, he said removing Jamie would be the first step to "ending the Kafkaesque nightmare imposed upon by her father so that her dignity and basic liberties can be restored."

Rosengart recently nominated accountant John Zabel to replace Jamie as a temporary conservator. In an objection filed Monday, Jamie criticized Zabel as his replacement, saying the accountant was unqualified to manage Britney or her money. His attorneys said the court should allow Britney and Jamie to resolve their issues over a private mediation.

Britney Spears
Britney Spears in 2018. Gabe Ginsberg via Getty

Rosengart recently nominated accountant John Zabel to replace Jamie as a temporary conservator — but Jamie's legal team is pushing back. His attorneys called Zabel unqualified and argued that the court should allow Britney and Jamie to resolve their issues over a private mediation before ending the conservatorship. 

Rosengart called this an attempt to extort Britney of $2 million in accounting and legal fees while delaying his departure.  "As we have also stated, Ms. Spears rejects her father's self-interested efforts at settlement and maintains, and pleads, that regardless of when the conservatorship ends, Mr. Spears must be suspended now," he wrote in a filing Monday.

On June 23, Britney made her first public comments in court, testifying that the conservatorship was abusive and gave her father unprecedented control over her life, body, and mental health. 

"This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good," Britney said in an emotional statement. "I've lied and told the whole world I'm OK and I'm happy — it's a lie. I thought just maybe if I said that enough, maybe I might become happy because I've been in denial. I've been in shock. I am traumatized."

In July, Los Angeles Judge Brenda Penny granted Britney the right to hire her own attorney. Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, immediately pushed to remove her father and begin the process of ending the conservatorship. 

In a filing last week, Rosengart said Jamie "crossed unfathomable lines" when he allegedly instructed Britney's security team to record and monitor private text messages, phone calls and conservations. The accusation was first reported in a New York Times and FX documentary — a claim Jamie's attorneys have denied.

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