Judge Sides With Britney Spears In Latest Conservatorship Update

by Cassandra Stone
AFP /J. Merritt/Getty

A new judge on the case ruled that Jamie Spears must share power over Britney’s finances

A Los Angeles judge has ruled in favor of Britney Spears‘ legal team in the latest update regarding her conservatorship. Her father, Jamie Spears, must now share power over his daughter’s finances with a financial company appointed to the role.

Judge Brenda Penny, new to the Spears case, ordered Jamie Spears and the financial company Bessemer Trust to work together equally on a budget and investment plan for the singer. This is a change from last November, when the judge appointed Bessemer Trust to the role but did not rule to remove Jamie Spears from the conservatorship entirely — which would require a separate legal procedure altogether.

Jamie Spears has had sole control over his daughter’s financial and personal decisions since 2008, when he was put in charge of the conservatorship. Last August, his daughter filed a petition to the Los Angeles Superior Court to remove her father as her conservator. When that request was denied, Judge Penny added Bessemer Trust as co-conservator.

During yesterday’s proceedings, the judge didn’t radically change the terms of the conservatorship, but she did deny Jamie Spears’ objections that sharing power with Bessemer Trust reduced his powers over his daughter’s estate. The elder Spears’ attorney also asked the judge to allow Jamie to retain power to delegate his daughter’s investments. Judge Penny rejected his requests and reaffirmed that both Jamie Spears and Bessemer Trust will have to share power.

Lessening Jamie Spears’ power over his daughter’s financial and personal decisions is notable in light of the global response to Framing Britney Spears, the much-discussed New York Times documentary released last week. The documentary highlights how the media and Spears’ close circle played a role in her very public, very emotionally and mentally taxing breakdown between 2007-2008.

It’s also worth noting that Jamie Spears makes a significant amount of money annually as part of his conservatorship. After successful album releases in 2008 and 2016, and a year-long Las Vegas residency from 2015-2017, Spears has officially refused to perform any longer. Fans speculate that it’s a way for her to assert control over her life in some way, and to prevent her father from profiting off her performances.

Britney’s fans have long held the belief that the star is being held captive with no control over her life — her finances, her children’s visitation, or even her social media accounts — all because of her father’s legal role. Fans have shown up outside each of the star’s court hearings to offer their support, and even the ACLU has offered their own legal support to the star. The #FreeBritney movement has been gaining traction during the last few years among her fans, and now, thanks to the documentary, seems to have unanimous support worldwide.

During yesterday’s court hearing, Britney’s court-appointed attorney, Sam Ingham, reminded the judge that his client wants her father removed from the conservatorship. “It’s no secret that my client does not want her father as her conservator but we recognize that removal is a separate issue.”

Both parties are expected back in court on March 17.