Britney Spears tearfully lashed out at her father on Wednesday for the second time in less than a month and told a court hearing that she wants him to stop co-guardian of her estate and be charged with abuse of guardianship.
“I want to press charges against my father today,” Spears told the court by phone, breaking down in tears at times. “I want an investigation on my dad.”
Her comments on Wednesday come after a hearing last month in which she told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny that her guardianship is “abusive” and that she wanted to choose her own attorney to Help her end the nearly 13-year deal.Samuel D. Ingham had been Spears’s court-appointed attorney since the beginning of her conservatorship in 2008.
He filed his request to resign last week after the singer criticized his portrayal. The judge accepted Ingham’s resignation on Wednesday, along with the resignation of the Bessemer Trust, a wealth management firm that had been named co-guardian of the singer’s estate.
Spears has hired former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, a veteran entertainment litigator who attended Wednesday’s hearing as her new attorney.
Jamie Spears’ lawyer says he will not resign
Britney Spears initially asked that the courtroom be cleared before changing her mind and speaking for about 20 minutes.
In the series of explosive new accusations, Spears called the conservatorship “bloody cruelty,” and described severe limitations she is living under, such as not being able to have a cup of coffee.
“If this is not abuse, I don’t know what is,” said the singer. “I thought they were trying to kill me.”
Spears told the court that she was unwilling to be evaluated to remove her father from guardianship, saying she has “serious abandonment issues.” Her father, Jamie Spears, remains a co-guardian of her estate, while Jodi Montgomery is a guardian of Spears’ persona.
Speaking publicly on behalf of the singer for the first time, Rosengart urged Jamie Spears to voluntarily resign as guardian.
“It’s the best for the ward,” Rosengart said outside of court. “We will act quickly and aggressively for his removal. The question remains, why is he involved? He should resign voluntarily because that is in the best interest of the conservatee.”
Vivian Thoreen, Jamie Spears’ attorney, said in court that he would not resign.
Rosengart praised the pop star’s “courage, passion and humanity” in speaking, calling her testimony “clear, lucid, powerful and compelling.”
He said he plans to delve into what has happened under the tutelage.
“My company and I will take a top-down look at what happened over the past decade,” Rosengart said.
Other key figures have distanced themselves
Since her testimony last month, when Spears said she felt compelled to act, take medication and use contraception against her will, many of the key figures who handled her affairs under the complex guardianship setup have grown apart.
In addition to the Ingham and Bessemer Trust, their longtime trustee, Larry Rudolph, also resigned, citing Spears’ desire to retire.
Spears’ mother, Lynne Spears, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed court reports in support of her desire to select her own attorney.
Other requests were continued in the case, including a request from Montgomery for additional security support.
Interest in Spears’ legal battle has grown since the February release of the documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” which explores the singer’s career and guardianship.
Spears’ fight has attracted widespread support from other artists, including Madonna, Mariah Carey, and Christina Aguilera.
Her supporters have launched the free Britney movement, which has included a bipartisan effort by lawmakers. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, have voiced their support for Spears.
On Wednesday night, Spears tweeted her thanks to her fans and her new portrayal. The video she posted, she said, was her “celebration of horseback riding and cartwheeling.”
Coming along, folks … coming along 🖕🏻!!!!! New with real representation today … I feel GRATITUDE and BLESSED !!!! Thank you to my fans who are supporting me … You have no idea what it means to me be supported by such awesome fans !!!! God bless you all !!!!! pic.twitter.com/27yexZ5O8J
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) July 15, 2021