Britney Spears Wins Right To New Lawyer In Battle To Remove Dad.
An emotional Britney Spears won a victory Wednesday in her bid to end her father’s control of her affairs as a judge ruled that she could appoint her own attorney to help end a guardianship that the superstar of pop described as “cruelty”.
Spears telephoned a Los Angeles court again, three weeks after her first explosive testimony in which she pleaded with a judge to release her from the years of guardianship that increased worldwide interest in the case.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Brenda Penny accepted the resignation of Spears’ previous attorney and said she would accept the new choice of Mathew Rosengart, 39, to represent her.
Rosengart told AFP on the sidelines of the hearing that he would file a petition “as soon as possible” to remove Jamie Spears as guardian, and suggested that the singer’s father should simply resign.
“We will petition as soon as possible to move Mr. Spears, subject to our formal retention,” said Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor who has represented Steven Spielberg and Sean Penn.
“Why doesn’t Mr. Spears resign voluntarily?” Rosengart asked. “He no longer belongs to this tutelage. And we believe he should voluntarily resign immediately.”
Spears, who spoke to the court again on the phone, was sometimes angry and upset, and used insults from time to time, as she said she wanted to “press charges” against her father.
“I’m angry and I’m going to go there,” said the singer, who even told the court at one point that she thought “they were trying to kill me.”
“If the court doesn’t see this as abuse … I don’t know what it is,” Spears said, calling for “investigations” and a restraining order against her father.
Following the judge’s ruling, Spears posted a video of herself doing cartwheels on Instagram, with the caption: “Come on folks … come on !!!!! New with actual representation today … I feel grateful and BLESSED !! ”
He signed his post with the phrase adopted by his loyal fans: “#FreeBritney.”
– Twists and turns –
Spears, who rose to fame in her teens, suffered a very public meltdown in 2007 when the shaved-head star attacked a paparazzi car at a gas station.
The following year, a California court placed her under a single legal guardianship governed largely by her father, Jamie.
Spears quickly returned to acting after that, released three albums, appeared on various television shows, and even took up a residency in Las Vegas.
But in January 2019, he abruptly announced that he was suspending his performances until further notice.
And then last month, the singer made a passionate plea for her situation to change, claiming that she had been prevented from having her contraceptive IUD removed, despite wanting more children, and that she was forcefully put on drugs that made her feel ” drunk “.
Spears said she was forced to perform shows under threat of a lawsuit and was not even allowed to change in privacy or drive her own car.
– #FreeBritney –
After that testimony, Samuel Ingham, the lawyer appointed by the court after their breakup, asked to resign from his position.
So did the financial management company that took joint control of Spears’ estate with her father Jamie, who remains at the site.
Penny accepted both resignations on Wednesday.
Larry Rudolph, Spears’ longtime manager, also resigned.
Spears has a lot of public support, from fans singing outside the courtroom, who greeted the news of her substitute attorney with raucous cheers, to her musical partners Christina Aguilera and Madonna.
At a small rally on the Mall in the capital Washington, 34-year-old Patrick Thomas, leader of the newly formed Free Britney America group, called the singer’s plight “archaic.”
“This is not just about Britney. This is about anyone else trapped in one of these, what I would call a prison,” said Thomas, whose group is pushing for a hearing in Congress and federal oversight of guardianships.
– ‘Stupid’ –
Penny’s approval of Spears’ new attorney, pending formal confirmation, is a huge victory for the star.
She told the judge that she now wants the guardianship terminated without having to undergo any more “stupid” psychological testing, but if testing is required, she would settle for simply removing her father from the system.
Jamie Spears ‘attorney did not object to the new attorney, but told the court that Spears’ claim that her father is responsible for all the bad things that have happened to him is “the furthest thing from the truth.”
Noting that he would not voluntarily resign, the attorney said that Spears’ father “has been there 24/7 for the past 13 years,” and repeated a call to the court to investigate the allegations of singer abuse.