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Judge sides with Britney Spears in latest conservatorship hearing

A Los Angeles judge Thursday sided with Britney Spears' legal team in giving a third party equal power to her father in managing the 39-year-old pop star's finances. Her father, Jamie Spears, had objected to an earlier ruling, which he claimed lessened his control over the estate. 

Judge Brenda Penny ordered her father and financial company Bessemer Trust to work together on a budget and investment plan for the singer. In November, the judge appointed the company to the role but denied an attempt from Britney's lawyers to remove Jamie from the conservatorship entirely.

Jamie was granted the conservatorship in 2008 after Britney struggled with mental health issues. 

On Thursday, Britney's court-appointed attorney echoed his previous statements saying his client wants her father removed from the conservatorship. "It's no secret that my client does not want her father as her conservator but we recognize that removal is a separate issue," attorney Sam Ingham said. 

Jamie's attorney, Vivian Thoreen, claimed the co-conservatorship between Jaime and Bessemer Trust was "unclear and ambiguous by design." But Ingham disputed this, saying the split roles were not ambiguous and meant to be equal. 

Last year, Ingram said Britney "strongly opposed" her father's position as the sole conservator of her estate and asked the court to limit his control. While the judge did not remove him, she named the Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator. 

Britney and Jamie Spears
Jamie Spears in 2012 and Britney Spears in 2019. AP

Jamie's legal team has argued that his guidance is working. Under his order, his attorneys have said, Britney's estate has gone from being in debt to having a valuation of more than $60 million.

Late Thursday, Jamie's attorneys said he welcomed working with the co-conservator. "The Probate Court's rulings today show the court's confidence in our client Jamie Spears and Bessemer Trust to manage the conservatorship of Ms. Spears' estate together," his legal team said in a statement. "My client looks forward to working with Bessemer to continue an investment strategy in the best interests of his daughter."   

The news comes as a New York Times documentary brought renewed attention to Spears' legal battle with her father. The special follows the beloved pop star's rise to fame, public breakdown and most recent comeback.

Both parties are expected back in court on March 17. 

Zoe Christen Jones contributed reporting.

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