“I believe that the suspension of [James Spears] is in the best interest of the conservatee, Ms. Britney Spears,” Judge Brenda Penny said. “The current situation is untenable.”
The judge said the pleadings in the case convinced her that Jamie’s position at the helm of his daughter’s estate created a “toxic environment” for his daughter. The pivotal decision came after the pop star made searing statements in open court in June and July, accusing her dad of steering an “abusive” and “demoralizing” conservatorship that left her feeling “bullied” and “alone.”
“He works me so hard,” she told Judge Brenda Penny on June 23rd, calling Jamie an “ignorant father” who should be in jail for the way he treated her. “How come I was always threatened by my dad and anybody that participated in this conservatorship, if I don’t do this, what they enslave me to do, they’re going to punish me?”
“I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day,” she said. “I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years, and it’s enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve owned my money. And it’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end without being tested.”
Britney claimed the conservatorship granted in 2008 amid concerns over her mental health and possible substance abuse forced her to work against her will, compelled her to take powerful drugs that left her feeling “drunk,” cut her off from friends and led her to believe she couldn’t remove an IUD to try for another child.
Since she first spoke up June 23rd, Judge Penny allowed her to hire new lawyer Mathew Rosengart in July and to address the court for a second time.
“This conservatorship is literally allowing my dad to ruin my life,” she said during that second round of surprise telephone testimony played live in a Los Angeles courtroom. Her back-to-back statements sparked a firestorm of support from the #FreeBritney movement and set the stage for her July 26th petition asking to suspend and remove Jamie.
Rosengart told the court his client was living a “Kafkaesque nightmare,” where her dad claims to be looking out for her best interests but then draws a sizable allowance and takes cuts from her earnings in a clear conflict. The lawyer said that since at least 2009, Jamie has been paying himself $16,000 a month from the estate — double the amount that he allots his world-famous daughter. Rosengart, who filed more paperwork calling for an outright end to the conservatorship this fall, wrote that Jamie’s cut from Britney’s former Las Vegas residency was “estimated to be at least $2.1 million.”
Jamie’s lead lawyer, Vivian Lee Thoreen, defended the embattled dad, saying he served his daughter “faithfully” for 13 years and would step down once he helped close out the financial half of the conservatorship he still controlled, after removing himself as conservator of his daughter’s day-to-day healthcare and security in September 2019.
“Whatever remains to be done to wind down the conservatorship of the estate should be done as efficiently as possible, by Mr. Spears, who is familiar with the assets…and the attention each asset requires, and without an abrupt, needles and expensive transfer of custody of the assets to a complete stranger,” Thoreen wrote in a filing earlier this week. Thoreen said the CPA nominated by Britney and Rosengart to take Jamie’s place, John Zabel, was not qualified.
From Rolling Stone US