Just days after Britney Spears publicly accused her father of conservatorship abuse, the pop icon is barreling forward with her plan to kick him out of the legal arrangement that's dominated her life for more than a decade.
On Monday, Spears’ new attorney, Mathew Rosengart, filed a petition requesting that Britney Spears’ father, James “Jamie” Spears, be removed from the conservatorship, which could strip him of his control of his daughter’s finances. Rosengart also requested that Jason Rubin, a certified public accountant who’s worked in forensic accounting, be named conservator.
The filing fulfils a promise Rosengart made earlier this month—shortly after Judge Brenda Penny appointed him to the case—to aggressively work to remove James Spears from the conservatorship. Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, became Britney Spears’ attorney in the wake of the singer’s searing court testimony in June. Spears, who spoke about being pressured to work against her will and being forced to keep an IUD she didn’t want, blames her father for what she believes to be an abusive conservatorship.
“I want to press charges against my father today,” Spears told the court earlier this month. “I want an investigation into my dad.”
The petition to remove James Spears says that Britney Spears has been embroiled in a “Kafkaesque nightmare.”
“There might well come a time when the court will be called upon to consider whether the conservatorship should be terminated in its entirety and whether—in addition to stripping his daughter of her dignity, autonomy, and certain fundamental liberties—Mr. Spears is also guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance warranting the imposition of surcharges, damages, or other legal action against him,” the petition reads.
“Any father who genuinely loves his daughter and has her best interests at heart should willingly step aside in favor of the highly-respected professional fiduciary nominated here,” it adds.
In a footnote, the filing also raises questions about the status of Britney Spears’ fortune, which is valued at around $57 million in non-cash assets and almost $3 million in cash assets.
“Serious questions abound concerning Mr. Spears’ potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest, conservatorship abuse, and the evident dissipation of Ms. Spears’s fortune,” it reads.
An attorney for James Spears didn’t immediately return a request for comment. James James Spears’ lawyer has previously said that Britney Spears’ belief that her father is responsible for her troubles is “simply not true.”
“I once again want to thank Britney Spears for her courage and her fortitude. I want to thank her fans, who have been incredibly supportive of her, on social media and otherwise, throughout the country and throughout the world,” Rosengart told reporters outside a Los Angeles courthouse Monday. “She deserves it and she appreciates it.”
Spears’ June testimony made the #FreeBritney movement mainstream and kicked off a wave of legal filings. James Spears has asked for an investigation into his daughter’s allegations and suggested that it might be Jodi Montgomery who’s responsible for any misdeeds. James Spears alleges that, as the conservator of her person, Montgomery has power over Britney Spears’ medical choices and thus is responsible for any potential medical abuse.
Montgomery, in return, denied the allegations of wrongdoing and said that Britney Spears wants her to stay on as conservator.
Montgomery, a licensed professional fiduciary, also asked for increased security, since she started receiving an “elevated level of threatening messages” after Spears’ testimony. James Spears objected in court documents and called a monthly $50,000 security allowance for Montgomery “unnecessary.”
“Mr. Spears himself and his counsel have also received similar threatening communications, including threats of violence and death, for some time,” the document reads.
If Montgomery gets additional security, then Britney Spears may be obligated to do the same for other people involved in the conservatorship—which her nearly $60 million estate can’t afford to do.
Over the last several weeks, Spears has also been increasingly vocal about her situation on Instagram. Although the pop singer has spent years posting cryptic captions and dance videos, she’s now started to openly champion the #FreeBritney movement on her account. After Rosengart’s appointment, Spears posted a video and said she was “BLESSED!!!!”
“You have no idea what it means to me to be supported by such awesome fans!!!!” Spears wrote, adding a middle-finger emoji and the words #FreeBritney.