Britney Spears arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016, in New York City. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.As the battle over Britney Spears’ conservatorship wages on, several members of her team have apparently decided it’s just too toxic to stay in the singer’s orbit.
Samuel Ingham III, who’s worked as Spears’ court-appointed lawyer since the start of her controversial conservatorship in 2008, will resign from the case, according to paperwork Ingham filed Tuesday. But his resignation is only the latest shake-up for Britney’s team, which has been in tumult since the pop icon publicly accused the conservatorship of wrecking her life in bombshell court testimony in June. She’s particularly pinned the blame on her father, James Spears, who helps manage the conservatorship.Bessemer Trust, a private wealth-management company that was supposed to manage Spears’ assets alongside James Spears, asked to resign in early July. The firm asked to quit in light of Spears’ clear demand to end the conservatorship, writing in court documents that the firm “has heard the conservatee and respects her wishes.”Larry Rudolph, the singer’s longtime manager, is also resigning from her team, Deadline reported Monday.“It has been over two and a half years since Britney and I last communicated, at which time she informed me she wanted to take an indefinite work hiatus. Earlier today, I became aware that Britney had been voicing her intention to officially retire,” Rudolph said in a Monday letter addressed to James Spears and Jodi Montgomery, who works as a personal conservator for Spears. “As her manager, I believe it is in Britney’s best interest for me to resign from her team as my professional services are no longer needed.”
In the letter, Rudolph said that he had “never been a part of the conservatorship nor its operations.” In her testimony, Spears ominously referred to her “management” pressuring her to work.In the wake of Ingham’s departure, Lynne Spears, Britney’s mom, filed a petition on Wednesday asking the court to either let Britney Spears hire her own legal counsel or appoint another attorney of Britney’s choice. It’s a request that’s in line with Britney Spears’ own wishes, as she said in her June testimony that she hoped to pick an attorney on her own.And Lynne Spears, in her petition, makes it clear whose side she’s on.“For the past many years, Conservatee is able to care for her person and in fact has, inside of the parameters of this conservatorship, earned literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity,” the petition reads. “Her capacity is certainly different today than it was in 2008, and Conservatee should no longer be held to the 2008 standard, whereby she was found to ‘not have the capacity to retain counsel.’”However, a few people are resolutely remaining tied to the conservatorship. On July 1, a judge denied Britney Spears’ months-old request to remove James Spears from the conservatorship. (James Spears has maintained his innocence in the face of his daughter’s explosive allegations.)
On July 6, Montgomery said that she will continue to serve as Spears’ personal conservator—despite James Spears’ suggestion, in court documents, that it’s Montgomery who’s been responsible for Britney Spears’ medical treatment. Britney Spears has said she was forced to take lithium, a medication that she didn’t want, and has not been allowed to remove an IUD, among other incendiary accusations. Montgomery’s attorney said Tuesday that Montgomery, a licensed private professional fiduciary, will also be sticking around for the conservatorship.“Britney’s choice to marry and to start a family have never been impacted by the conservatorship while Ms. Montgomery has been the conservator of the person,” an attorney for Montgomery said in a recent statement. “I can state unequivocally that Jodi Montgomery has been a tireless advocate for Britney and for her well-being.”Now, James Spears, who’s maintained his own innocence in the face of his daughter’s claims, is asking for an investigation into Britney’s claims. A hearing on that request is set for mid-July.This article has been updated throughout to reflect recent developments.