Britney Spears could finally be free of her ‘abusive’ father as case returns to court
The eyes of the world will once again be on Britney Spears on Wednesday (29 September) as her ongoing battle for freedom returns to court.
It is not entirely clear just yet what’s likely to happen in court, but if we’ve learned anything over the last few months, it’s that there are endless possibilities when it comes to the legal battle that has gripped the world.
What we do know is this: Britney Spears’ lawyer Mathew Rosengart has asked Los Angeles judge Brenda Penny to have Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, suspended from her conservatorship with immediate effect.
Jamie Spears has exercised significant control over his daughter since 2008, when the court-ordered conservatorship was first put in place. The controversial arrangement has allowed him to control her personal life and finances – although he is currently only serving as conservator of her estate.
Notably, Jamie Spears has repeatedly pushed back against Britney’s suggestion that she no longer wants or needs the conservatorship – but that all changed earlier this month.
In a move that shocked the world, Jamie Spears urged a Los Angeles court to consider ending the conservatorship altogether. That moment represented a dramatic and sudden turnaround for a man who had repeatedly fought to retain a role in the running of his daughter’s life.
So, here’s what we do know going into Wednesday’s court hearing: at this stage, nobody wants the conservatorship to continue – both Jamie and Britney have been clear that they want the arrangement terminated completely.
However, there is still disagreement about exactly how the conservatorship should be wound up – and, specifically, how and when Jamie Spears should be removed.
Britney Spears’ lawyer will argue that her father has ‘stripped her of her dignity’
This is borne out in a court document filed by Rosengart ahead of Wednesday’s hearing. In his filing, Rosengart called on the court to suspend Jamie Spears from the conservatorship “by no later than 29 September”, adding that there was “overwhelming evidence” demonstrating why such action was necessary.
Rosengart went on to draw attention to an article published by the New York Times on Monday (27 September), which alleged that Jamie Spears bugged his daughter’s bedroom. Britney’s lawyer also pointed to the singer’s “powerful and poignant testimony” in June, where she “testified to the abuses inflicted by her father as well as his cruelty and how he stripped her of her dignity”.
Needless to say, Jamie doesn’t agree that he should be terminated with immediate effect on Wednesday. Instead, he is expected to ask for a “private mediation” or “settlement” in the case. Rosengart has accused him of trying to “delay” proceedings.
“To be clear, his suspension will not impede the ultimate termination of the entire conservatorship, as Mr Spears will be required during the transition to work with his temporary successor,” Rosengart wrote in his court filing.
“The only thing Mr Spears will ‘lose’ is something he should not have ever had – the ability to further harm his daughter.”
There are a number of possible outcomes from Britney’s court hearing
So, what’s likely to happen on Wednesday? Right now, there are a number of possibilities.
Sources close to the case have told TMZ that it’s possible – but not likely – that the court will terminate the conservatorship altogether on Wednesday.
Instead, sources suggested that there are two likely outcomes.
One – Judge Brenda Penny could request that Britney Spears’ undergo a mental evaluation to determine her mental wellbeing before proceeding. This could prove controversial in Britney’s camp – the singer expressly said she wanted to be freed from the legal arrangement without undergoing a medical evaluation during her June court appearance.
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If a medical evaluation is ordered, it could take months to complete – meaning Britney will remain under the conservatorship for the foreseeable future. That weight could be easier for Britney to bear if the court agrees to immediately suspend Jamie Spears from the arrangement.
Two – the judge could order that a mediation take place. This would see all parties get together and come up with a plan to help achieve the shared goal to get Britney out of the conservatorship.
That scenario would also have its pitfalls – Britney has expressly stated that she is estranged from her father and that she is “scared” of him. It wouldn’t come as a major surprise if Britney refused to engage with a mediation process as long as Jamie is involved.
Britney could walk away from court with a new conservator
Another option to consider is that Britney Spears could end up with a new, temporary conservator at the end of Wednesday’s hearing.
Reports suggest that the signer’s legal team has asked that Jamie be replaced with public accountant John Zabel in the conservatorship. This would give them time to work on the finer details of freeing Britney from the legal arrangement without her father’s involvement.
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However, TMZ reports that Jamie has objected to the appointment of Zabel. In court filings seen by the publication, Britney’s father reportedly said Britney’s team had provided no evidence to prove that Zabel was “highly qualified” for the role.
Jamie has reportedly also suggested that there’s no reason he should be replaced in the conservatorship because there’s no evidence he has done a bad job. Needless to say, that’s a characterisation Britney and her lawyer will furiously disagree with.
In short, Wednesday’s court hearing is looking like it’ll be a long and drawn out affair. Court documents indicate that the hearing is likely to kick off around 1.30pm Los Angeles time – and it could go on for some time.
The hearing is widely expected to be revealing and decisive for Britney’s future – but fans waiting to hear more from Britney will be left disappointed. Reports suggest that the singer won’t be making an appearance herself.
Regardless of whether she’s there or not, Wednesday’s court hearing could signal the beginning of the end for Britney Spears’ highly controversial conservatorship.