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. The decision is a major victory for the pop star, who has pushed to remove her father from the court-appointed arrangement.
Judge Brenda Perry agreed with a petition from Britney’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, and appointed John Zabel, a certified public accountant, to serve as a temporary manager of her finances. Penny denied a request from Jamie’s attorney to investigate Zabel, saying the temporary appointment only requires a background check.
The judge said her father’s suspension was in Britney’s best interest and said the ruling was unable to be appealed. A hearing focused on whether to terminate the conservatorship altogether is scheduled for November 12.
“This suspension is directly what Britney wanted, she does not want Jamie in her life,” Rosengart said in court Wednesday.
Jamie’s attorney issued a statement on his behalf Thursday. “Mr. Spears loves his daughter Britney unconditionally. For thirteen years, he has tried to do what is in her best interests, whether as a conservator or her father,” the statement said. “For Mr. Spears, this also meant biting his tongue and not responding to all the false, speculative, and unsubstantiated attacks on him by certain members of the public, media, or more recently, Britney’s own attorney.”
“These facts make the outcome of yesterday’s hearing all the more disappointing, and frankly, a loss for Britney. Respectfully, the court was wrong to suspend Mr. Spears, put a stranger in his place to manage Britney’s estate, and extend the very conservatorship that Britney begged the court to terminate earlier this summer.”
Meanwhile, Rosengart said he plans to depose Jamie for alleged financial mismanagement during his time as a conservator.
“I’m very proud of Britney,” Rosengart said outside of the courthouse on Wednesday. “We’ve served extensive discovery on Jamie Spears, interrogatories, document requests and I do intend to take his deposition as well, during which, unless he pleads the fifth amendment, he will have to answer for his misconduct.”
Outside of the courthouse, the pop star’s supporters cheered as the news was announced Wednesday. Her fans waved posters with her photos and the phrase “Free Britney” while singing her most popular songs.
Britney’s fiancé, Sam Asghari, celebrated the decision on Wednesday. “Free Britney!” he wrote on Instagram. “Congratulations!!!!”
A New York Times and FX documentary was at the center of Wednesday’s hearing. In the film, a former employee of the security firm Black Box alleged that Jamie “ran an intense surveillance apparatus” that secretly captured audio recordings from his daughter’s bedroom, including interactions with her boyfriend and children. Jamie’s legal team has denied the allegation.
Earlier this month, Jamie vowed to eventually step down and filed a petition to end the arrangement altogether, saying “all he wants is what is best for his daughter.” His legal team maintains Jamie has always had Britney’s interests at heart and that her estate went from being in debt to having a valuation of more than $60 million.
In June, 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.”