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Britney Spears' father files to end conservatorship after 13 years at helm of pop star's estate

NBC News logo NBC News 9/8/2021 Doha Madani and Diana Dasrath
a close up of Jamie Spears et al. wearing a hat © Provided by NBC News

Britney Spears' father filed a petition to end his daughter's conservatorship Tuesday, a major victory for the singer after her father had held the reins of her estate for more than 13 years.

James "Jamie" Spears' petition to Los Angeles County Superior Court, seen by NBC News, says his daughter "is entitled to have this Court now seriously consider whether this conservatorship is no longer required." The filing went on to say Britney Spears' circumstances have changed "to such an extent that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship may no longer exist."

His petition also argued that probate code doesn't require Britney Spears to undergo a new psychological evaluation to terminate the guardianship, which she told the court she refuses to do.

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"The conservatorship has helped Ms. Spears get through a major life crisis, rehabilitate and advance her career, and put her finances and her affairs in order. But recently, things have changed," the filing said. "Ms. Spears is now outspoken in her frustration with the level of control imposed by a conservatorship, and has pleaded with this Court to 'let her have her life back.'"

Britney Spears, 39, has tried to remove her father from her case twice in the last two years, saying last year that she refuses to perform while he retains control over her in any capacity. She told Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny during her testimony June 23 that her father had ruined her life and "loved" to hear her in pain while he exerted his power over her.

She alleged that her conservatorship was "abusive" and that she was told she wouldn't be able to see her children if she didn't comply with the demands of her father or management.

Her newly appointed attorney, Mathew Rosengart, filed a petition to remove Jamie Spears last month and asked the court to replace him with a professional accountant. Rosengart argued that Jamie Spears wasn't acting in his daughter's best interests and indicated that he may have misused her finances.

The petition to end the conservatorship was a mammoth legal victory and "vindication," Rosengart said in a statement Tuesday.

"It appears that Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, but as we assess his filing — which was inappropriately sent to the media before it was served on counsel — our investigation will continue," Rosengart said.

Penny was expected to rule on the petition at a hearing Sept. 29.

Jamie Spears' petition is a big win for the #FreeBritney fans who have spent years protesting the conservatorship. Many of those in the #FreeBritney community are fans of Britney Spears who expressed fears that her father was exploiting her for his own benefit.

Jamie Spears has repeatedly denied all allegations of abuse, both in legal filings and in public comments.

In a response to the petition to remove him, Jamie Spears indicated that he would be "willing to step down when the time is right, but the transition needs to be orderly and include a resolution of matters." But he still contested his removal, arguing that there was no urgent need for his removal, and he urged the court not to make a decision based on "false allegations."

He specifically addressed allegations made by his ex-wife Lynne Spears, who also provided a declaration that said she didn't believe he was acting in their daughter's best interests. She said Jamie Spears' "absolutely microscopic control" through threats and coercion had reduced his relationship with their daughter to nothing more than "fear and hatred."

Lynne Spears said she became involved in the case during a "time of crisis" that began in 2018 and continued into the next year. She said that in that period, Britney Spears was being treated by a "sports enhancement" doctor, hired by Jamie Spears, who was "prescribing what I and many others thought to be entirely inappropriate medicine to my daughter, who did not want to take the medicine."

Jamie Spears rebutted the allegation, saying Lynne Spears "has not accepted the full extent" of the level of care and treatment their daughter needed for her mental health. The filing argued that the doctor was a Harvard-trained psychiatrist whom Britney Spears approved of after an interview.

He also denied having coerced his daughter to "do anything," including undergo forced inpatient facility treatment.

"If the public knew all the facts of Ms. Spears' personal life, not only her highs but also her lows, all of the addiction and mental health issues that she has struggled with, and all of the challenges of the Conservatorship, they would praise Mr. Spears for the job he has done, not vilify him," the filing said.

"But the public does not know all the facts, and they have no right to know, so there will be no public redemption for Mr. Spears," it said.

Rosengart demanded that Jamie Spears immediately resign last month, accusing him in court documents of attempting to extort money from his daughter's estate before stepping down.

"Mr. Spears and his counsel are now on notice: the status quo is no longer tolerable, and Britney Spears will not be extorted," Rosengart wrote. "Mr. Spears's blatant attempt to barter suspension and removal in exchange for approximately $2 million in payments, on top of the millions already reaped from Ms. Spears's estate by Mr. Spears and his associates, is a non-starter."

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