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Britney Spears’ father, James Spears, has agreed to step down as the pop icon’s conservator, according to a new court filing Thursday—but he certainly doesn’t seem happy about it.
James Spears has served as Britney Spears’ conservator for the past 13 years, but in recent weeks, the two have had several courtroom skirmishes about his oversight of her roughly $60 million estate. Britney Spears, who has described the conservatorship as abusive, has publicly said that she no longer wants her father in a position to control her life, and her recently appointed attorney, former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, filed a petition last month to make that wish come true.
In his Thursday filing, James Spears said that the petition is groundless and that he doubts whether changing a conservatorship would benefit Britney Spears, but he’s still willing to end the ongoing fight with his daughter.
“Nevertheless, even as Mr. Spears is the unremitting target of unjustified attacks, he does not believe that a public battle with his daughter over his continuing service as her conservator would be in her best interests,” the filing reads. “So even though he must contest this unjustified petition for his removal, Mr. Spears intends to work with the Court and his daughter’s new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator.”
The 13-page filing denies any wrongdoing by James Spears and does not provide a timeline for his exit from the conservatorship.
It also lists a host of grievances—many of which are directed at Lynne Spears, Britney’s mother and James’ ex-wife, who has come out in support of her daughter. The filing accuses Lynne of making several inaccurate statements about James’ conservatorship of Britney, and suggests that Lynne has only had a “limited involvement” in her daughter’s life for years.
“Instead of criticizing Mr. Spears, Lynne should be thanking him for ensuring Ms. Spears’ well-being and for persevering through the years-long tenure requiring his 365/24/7 attention, long days and sometimes late nights, to deal with day-to-day and emergency issues—all to protect Ms. Spears and those around her charged with protecting his daughter,” the filing reads.
In a statement to Variety, Rosengart said that the filing was “vindication” for Britney Spears.
“We are disappointed, however, by their ongoing shameful and reprehensible attacks on Ms. Spears and others,” Rosengart’s statement reads. “We look forward to continuing our vigorous investigation into the conduct of Mr. Spears, and others, over the past 13 years, while he reaped millions of dollars from his daughter’s estate, and I look forward to taking Mr. Spears’ sworn deposition in the near future.”
The #FreeBritney movement has fermented for years, but it soared into the mainstream earlier this summer, when Britney Spears spoke at-length in court about the conservatorship—which, she said, led to her being pressured to work when she didn’t want to and forced her to keep an unwanted IUD.
The searing testimony kicked off a flurry of court filings, finger pointing, and, ultimately, the departure of Spears’ longtime court-appointed lawyer in favor of Rosengart and his aggressive maneuvering.
The next hearing on the case is set for late September.