Rich Fury/Getty Images
Rich Fury/Getty Images
on Wednesday afternoon, Britney SpearsThe conservatorship case returns to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. This is the first time she will return to court after Spears herself spoke to the judge last month and pleaded for termination of her 13-year conservatorship.
A large number of parties are involved in Wednesday’s hearing. The list of what they present to Judge Brenda Penny is quite long, and in some cases the contestants are at odds with each other. In a word: it’s complicated. Here’s a who’s who’s who’s involved and what they’re looking for in this court hearing.
Britney Spears’ father, Jamie, was the one who originally requested in February 2008 that his daughter be placed in a conservatory — initially as a temporary measure and then permanently in October of that year.
Since then, Jamie Spears has primarily been in charge of Britney Spears’ conservatory, handling both her money matters and her day-to-day decisions. The aptly named attorney Andrew Wallet was co-curator of her finances until he stepped down in March 2019.
Two years ago, Jamie Spears got rid of the curator of his daughter’s “person” – that is, dealing with her life and personal decisions. Since November last year, and because of his objections, he was said to share her estate trustee duties (which include money and financial decisions) with a professional firm called Bessemer Trust, but Bessemer never took on that role.
Bessemer will also appear in court on Wednesday. More about that below.
In September 2019, Montgomery, a licensed personal fiduciary and healthcare professional, was appointed conservator of Britney Spears’ person when Spears’ father faced a health crisis. In March, Spears’ current attorney, Samuel Ingham, asked if Montgomery would become Spears’ permanent conservator, but Judge Penny has yet to rule on that. (If Spears formally asks to be released from the conservatory soon, the request may be unfounded.)
After Britney Spears spoke out in court last month, Jamie Spears’ lawyers filed a file suggesting Montgomery was the reason for the pop star’s displeasure with the conservatory. He also asked the court to launch an investigation into the veracity of his daughter’s statements in court – which, like everything and everyone involved in this case, would be something Britney Spears would eventually pay for herself. But according to redacted texts submitted to the court by Montgomery, the singer seems to trust and appreciate her presence and guidance.
Last week, Montgomery filed a petition asking the court to give Spears a way to get new counsel, which the judge will hear on Wednesday — more on that below. Montgomery also told the court that she, along with Spears’ medical team, is currently drafting a new care plan with the ultimate goal of freeing the singer from the conservatory.
Montgomery also asked the court to make Spears’ estate pay for costly additional security for her personally, stating that she had received death threats. In response, Jamie Spears filed paperwork to block that claim. Penny won’t hear about this on Wednesday, but Montgomery and the elder Spears are now busy sending heated, accusation-filled court files back and forth.
Samuel D. Ingham III has been Spears’ court-appointed attorney since Judge Reva Goetz, Penny’s predecessor, first placed the pop star at the conservatory in 2008. The New YorkerSpears has paid Ingham $520,000 a year for his services.
In the past month statement to the court, Spears seemed to partially blame Ingham for her accident, saying she didn’t know she had the right to drop out of the Conservatory and that “my attorney, Sam, was very afraid I was going to continue.” Last week, Ingham formally requested resign as Spears’ representative. In addition, another law firm that has engaged Ingham to assist him, Loeb & Loeb, is also asking to back out.
according to The New York TimesAs early as 2014, Ingham was looking for changes in the conservatory. The newspaper reported that in a closed hearing, Ingham questioned Jamie Spears’ role as curator, partly because of his heavy drinking. Last November, Ingham told the court that the singer “afraid of her fatherand “will not perform again when her father is in charge of her career.”
The question of who will replace Ingham is an open one. Ingham himself suggested in his written resignation request that he be replaced by another court-appointed lawyer. Jodi Montgomery filed a separate petition requesting Judge Penny to file a guardian ad litem who can help Spears choose her own attorney. And Spears’ mother, Lynne Spears, filed her own petition asking the court to allow her daughter to independently select a new attorney.
On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and 25 other civil and disability rights organizations announced a amicus short with the court to support Spears in choosing her own attorney. Look for Penny to make a decision on this front on Wednesday.
This asset manager agreed in November 2020 to join Jamie Spears as co-custodian of Britney Spears’ finances. The company now says it hadn’t actually taken on that role yet, nor had it taken any compensation. After hearing Spears’ comments in court, Bessemer submitted a request to remove herself from the situation stating that she did not know that the singer wanted to end the conservatory. Penny hears the company’s petition to resign on Wednesday.
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