Britney Spears can hire her own lawyer to challenge conservatorship, judge rules

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CNBC 14 July, 2021 - 07:12pm 43 views

Who is Britney Spears conservator?

Samuel Ingham Samuel D. Ingham III has been Spears' court-appointed attorney ever since Judge Reva Goetz, Penny's predecessor, first placed the pop star into the conservatorship in 2008. According to The New Yorker, Spears has been paying Ingham $520,000 per year for his services. NPRBritney Spears' Conservatorship Is Back In Court: Who's Who, And What They Want

Why is Britney Spears in a conservatorship?

Britney was put under conservatorship following her very public breakdown in 2008. Following a year of seemingly erratic behavior—such as shaving her head and attacking a paparazzo's car with an umbrella—the singer was put under a "5150 hold" in a psychiatric hospital for a mental health evaluation. HarpersBAZAAR.comWhat Is the "Free Britney" Movement? - Britney Spears's Conservatorship Details

When is Britney's hearing?

➼ His purpose of this hearing: Jamie is asking the court to “to investigate the veracity of the allegations and claims made by Ms. Spears at the June 23, 2021 status hearing.” VultureWhat Everyone’s Fighting for at Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Hearing Today

What is conservatorship abuse?

While there are a variety of ways that an elderly individual may be abused or exploited, one of the most common types involves financial exploitation. A common way for an individual to take advantage of an older individual is to become his or her conservator, or guardian. peckbloom.comWhat is Conservatorship Abuse?

Britney Spears is permitted to hire her own lawyer, the judge overseeing the singer's guardianship ruled Wednesday.

The news comes three weeks after Spears denounced the conservatorship that has long controlled her finances and personal life.

Wednesday's court hearing addressed the resignation of Spear's court-appointed attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, who has handled the celebrity's case since 2008. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny approved Ingham's departure and Spear's chosen replacement Mathew Rosengart.

Rosengart is a prominent Hollywood lawyer and a former federal prosecutor. It is expected that he will be more aggressive in pushing for Spear's 13-year conservatorship to end.

Loeb & Loeb, a law firm that Ingham had recently brought on to assist him also submitted a resignation letter that was accepted by the judge.

Last month, Spears asked the court to choose her own counsel, asserting that she had not been made aware of her right to terminate her conservatorship by Ingham. The pop star said she wants to end the guardianship and regain her independence, including having say in her medical care.

In seeking to remove the conservatorship, Spears has levied claims of abuse against her father James Spears, alleging he has used the arrangement for personal gain. James Spears has publicly denied these accusations.

When James Spears encountered health issues in 2019, Jodi Montgomery, a licensed private fiduciary, was appointed in a temporary role within the conservatorship. Montgomery is reportedly onboard with Spears' desire to remove the guardianship and is well-liked by the singer.

Last year, Spears began the process to remove her father from her conservatorship, but her request was denied by the court. Instead, Bessemer Trust, a financial and wealth management group, was added as a co-conservator.

Bessemer Trust has since requested to resign from the position, saying it wasn't aware that Spears wished to terminate the conservatorship and that it no longer wanted to be involved.

Court records currently estimate Spears' fortune to be at around $50 million. Her father and his attorneys suggest that that money remains vulnerable to fraud and manipulation. Spears and her new lawyer will have to prove to the court that she is competent to be released and make her own financial decisions.

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ACLU files brief supporting Britney Spears' right to choose her own attorney

Daily Mail 14 July, 2021 - 08:04pm

By Kayla Brantley For Dailymail.com

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed court papers supporting Britney Spears in her fight to free herself from what the popstar calls an 'abusive' conservatorship. 

On Tuesday, the ACLU filed an amicus brief with the Superior Court of Los Angeles County calling for te court to allow Spears to choose her own attorney for her case, which she's prohibited from doing under her conservatorship. 

Britney had been represented by court-appointed attorney Samuel D. Ingham III for most of her 13-year conservatorship until last week when Ingham resigned after Spears gave emotional testimony, pleading to end the conservatorship. 

The petition, which was filed along with 25 civil and disability organizations, also calls for Spears to be given access to assistance and tools to make her selection for his replacement. 

'Ms. Spears has indicated her desire to select her own attorney, and amici urge this Court to ensure that Ms. Spears has the right to make this selection herself, with access to adequate information, and with neutral supports, if she wants such supports,' the filing states. 

Spears' next court hearing is set for Wednesday, July 14.  

The ACLU filed an amicus brief Tuesday calling for Britney Spears to have the right to choose her own attorney for her case. Spears is prohibited from choosing her own attorney under her conservatorship

The brief, which was filed along with 25 civil and disability organizations, also calls for Spears to be given access to assistance and tools to make her selection for his replacement

Zoë Brennan-Krohn, attorney with the ACLU's Disability Rights Project, said in a statement Tuesday, 'Britney Spears has said that she wants to pick her own lawyer and the court should respect that wish.

'The court should ensure Spears has access to the tools she needs to make that choice meaningfully and to hire someone she trusts to advocate for her stated goal: to get out of her conservatorship. Spears's right to select an attorney is not only a basic tenet of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, but also consistent with principles of personal autonomy and agency. The California Superior Court must recognize Spears's autonomy and the rights of people with disabilities to live independent, self-directed lives as active members of their communities.'

Britney Spears is pictured with her father Jamie. She has been fighting since last year to lift a conservatorship that he's presided over since 2008

The ACLU tweeted Tuesday about the brief, writing, 'We’re urging the court to let Britney exercise her right to select her own attorney and ensure Britney has access to assistance and tools to make this choice, including supported decision-making.

'Britney is currently under a probate conservatorship, a court-ordered legal status that strips people with disabilities of their civil liberties and grants other people, called conservators, the legal right to make decisions for them.'  

Last week Spears' mother wrote to the judge in her conservatorship case asking to allow her daughter to appoint her own attorney and end the legal framework she says is ruining her life, saying she can look after herself and has been able to for years.

In a court filing last week obtained by DailyMail.com, Lynne Spears asked Judge Brenda Penny to 'listen to the wishes of her daughter'. 

Lynne's lawyer wrote: 'On June 23, 2021 in very courageous showing, Conservatee [Britney] appeared by phone and spoke for almost twenty—five minutes, baring her heart to the Court in an impassioned plea to be heard on several requests.

'Petitioner Lynne Spears, interested party and mother of the Conservatee, hereby petitions this Court to listen to the wishes of her daughter, and as first step, respectfully requests an Order granting permission to the Conservatee to hire her own private legal counsel.' 

Lynne's attorney goes on to say Britney has 'quite literally earned hundreds of millions of dollars' as a celebrity and can care for herself. 

'It is beyond dispute that this is a unique conservatorship. In the original petition for appointment, her given address was the UCLA Medical Center. 

'That was over 13 years ago. 

'Now and for the past many years, she is able to care for her person and in fact has, inside the parameters of this conservatorship, earned literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celerity.

'She should no longer be held to the same standard,' Lynne's attorney wrote.   

The popstar was represented by Samuel D. Ingham III for most of her 13-year conservatorship until he resigned last week 

A court sketch from inside the Los Angeles County Courthouse, with Judge Brenda Penny presiding

Spears shocked the world last month when she begged a Los Angeles judge to free her from the court-ordered conservatorship that has given her father Jamie control over her life and $60million fortune for the last 13 years.

'I want this conservatorship to end - I truly believe that this conservatorship is abusive,' the 39 year-old pop superstar pleaded in a passionate 25-minute appeal to Judge Brenda Penny.

'I want to be able to get married to my boyfriend and have a baby but the conservatorship told me I can't do that.

'I have an IUD (intrauterine device) inside me to prevent me from having a baby. I want to go to a doctor and take it out so I can have a baby but they (the conservatorship) told me no.

'I feel ganged up on and bullied and alone.'

The ACLU tweeted Tuesday about the brief, writing, 'We’re urging the court to let Britney exercise her right to select her own attorney and ensure Britney has access to assistance and tools to make this choice, including supported decision-making

The judge overseeing Spears' case denied her request to remove her father's control days later.  

Amanda Goad, the Audrey Irmas director of the LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU SoCal, said in a statement, 'Britney's superstardom and wealth make this an atypical case, but she has described serious infringements on her civil liberties and dignity that are all too typical for people living under conservatorships and guardianships. 

'It's not just about Britney. We hope that offering supported decision-making to Britney Spears can serve as a model in other cases, because all people living with disabilities or under conservatorship deserve an opportunity to make their own informed choices.'

Britney with her father, brother and mother in 2006. Her parents separated 

2002: Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears divorce. 

Britney breaks up with Justin Timberlake around the same time

2004: Britney marries Kevin Federline

2007: Britney, struggling through a custody battle and split with Kevin, shaves her head and attacks a paparazzo's car

2008: Jamie Spears files for conservatorship of Britney, claiming she is not legally well enough to make her own decisions 

Britney in 2008 for a custody hearing as part of her split with Kevin Federline. Jamie Spears in court in 2008 getting the conservatorship

The conservatorship - which had been temporary - is extended  every year. 

In court papers, Jamie's attorneys describe how she is making more money

Britney in 2019, in the grips of the conservatorship, in Las Vegas at her residency

Britney announces an 'indefinite' work hiatus and cancels her lucrative Las Vegas residency.

Jamie files paperwork asking for the conservatorship to be extended beyond California, to apply in Hawaii, Louisiana and Florida as well 

He steps down as her primary conservator after allegations he abused one of her sons but is still listed as one of those in charge 

Early 2020: Britney, Jamie and Jamie-Lynne are in Louisiana together for two weeks.  

The #FreeBritney movement is picking up. 

His attorneys claim everyone is happy together and enjoying spending time together in quarantine.  

November 2020: Britney's attorneys claim in papers that she's afraid of her father and they ask for Bessemer Trust to be put in charge. 

Her fans start speculating over her cryptic Instagram posts and videos that she wants a way out.  

December 2020: The conservatorship is extended until September 2021

February 5 2021: Framing Britney Spears debuts on Hulu

The conservatorship that Britney was put under is ordinarily used in situations where older, perhaps senile people, can no longer look after their own affairs. 

Fans are concerned for her well-being and want her to be released from the control of her father, Jamie, who can still legally make decisions on her behalf

It gives control over to an appointed conservator for the best interest of the recipient but in most cases, the recipient is not healthy enough to make their own money, unlike Britney who makes millions. Under the rules of the probate conservatorship, Jamie now has equal control over her estate to a third party and an attorney, Andrew Wallet. Wallet derives  a salary of $426,000 a year from Britney's estate. 

He, Jamie and the third party who was brought on recently can make deals on her behalf and restrict her visitors.

JUNE 23, 2021 - BRITNEY SPEAKS OUT IN COURT  

Britney and her boyfriend Sam Asghari are in Hawaii together now with her kids

In emotional testimony, Britney told the court that she had suffered psychologically for years as a result of the conservatorship which she said was so restrictive, she wasn't allowed to remove her IUD birth control 

JUNE 30 - JUDGE DENIES BRITNEY'S REQUEST TO REMOVE JAMIE 

Judge Brenda Penny, responding to Britney's November 2020 request, refuses to remove Jamie from the agreement. 

She doesn't say why but she does invite her attorney to file paperwork to end it, which he doesn't. 

JULY 1 - BESSEMER TRUST RESIGNS AFTER BEING PUT IN CHARGE WITH JAMIE

A day after the judge's ruling, Bessemer Trust, which had been brought on, resigned, saying they were never aware that Britney wanted to end the conservatorship. 

In a court filing, the company's attorneys said: 'We heard her and respect her wishes.' 

JULY 5 - BRITNEY'S LONG-TIME MANAGER RESIGNS

Larry Rudolph wrote a letter to Jamie and the conservatorship to say he was no longer needed since Britney wanted to retire. 

He said he hadn't spoken to her for two years but had been told by others that she wanted to step down. 

JULY 6 - BRITNEY'S ATTORNEY STEPS DOWN 

Sam Ingham, the attorney appointed to represent Britney in 2008, steps down after failing to file paperwork to terminate the conservatorship, despite her pleas. 

JULY 14 - NEXT COURT HEARING 

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