Britney Spears’ conservatorship hearing begins in LA

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A court hearing has begun in which Britney Spears is set to break her public silence about the conservatorship arrangement that has governed every aspect of her life for more than a decade. 

The virtual hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court is expected to be the first time that Spears, 39, addresses the court since her attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, filed last year to have her father Jamie Spears removed as the guardian of her estimated $60 million estate.

Britney’s appearance was scheduled after her attorney asked Judge Brenda Penny in April if the pop star could address the court directly, which the justice granted. The court-appointed attorney did not disclose what Britney wanted to say.

The former child star last spoke before a judge in her conservatorship in a closed-door hearing in May 2019.

Since 2008, Britney’s finances have been controlled by a conservatorship — also known as a legal guardianship — in which a person is appointed to assume legal responsibility over someone who can’t manage their own affairs, such as the elderly or infirm.

The arrangement — first meant to be temporary — was implemented at Jamie’s request following his daughter’s public meltdown in late 2007, which came amid intense media scrutiny and her divorce from Kevin Federline.

Most of the inner workings of the conservatorship have been kept secret, but some details have been revealed in court documents, including how it has the power to restrict Britney’s visitors, make her medical decisions and conduct her business deals.

The conservatorship also arranges and oversees Britney’s visits with her sons Sean Preston and Jayden James. Federline has full custody of the boys.

From 2008 to 2019, Jamie had the power to control his daughter’s life choices, as well as her money, along with attorney Andrew Wallet.

Then, in September 2019, Jamie was temporarily replaced as co-conservator of Britney’s person due to health issues. Jodi Montgomery was appointed by the court to act as conservator over Britney’s personal matters.

Nearly a year later, Ingham filed a petition stating that Britney “strongly opposed” having her father return as sole conservator of the person once he had recuperated from his health issues. The singer did not request to have the conservatorship ended completely, but rather to “have a qualified corporate fiduciary appointed to serve in this role.”

In November 2020, LA CountySuperior Court Judge Brenda Penny approved for Jamie to split his responsibilities in overseeing his daughter’s finances with the Bessemer Trust, an estate-management firm.

Then, in March, Britney formally requested that Montgomery permanently replace Jamie as conservator over her personal affairs. Regardless of how Wednesday’s ruling pans out, Jamie would remain co-conservator of her estate alongside Bessemer Trust.

The conservatorship has come under scrutiny amid the #FreeBritney movement started by the singer’s fans and the FX/New York Times documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” which chronicled her rise to stardom and the battle over her estate.

Fans gathered at a rally near the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday in support of Spears.

The highly-anticipated hearing followed a New York Times article on Tuesday detailing how Britney had quietly sought for years to get out of the conservatorship and how her father controlled every aspect of her life, down to who she dated and the color of her kitchen cabinets.

Documents obtained by the newspaper from a 2014 closed-door hearing stated that Ingham said the star wanted to remove her dad as conservator, citing his drinking and a “shopping list” of other grievances.

Britney also told a court investigator in 2019 that she had been forced to perform against her will and to go to a mental health facility, the report said.

With Post Wires

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