Continuing a flood of activity sparked by Britney Spears’ impassioned court appearance, the singer’s personal conservator filed court papers Wednesday saying she’s been subjected to increasing threats of violence and requested that the singer’s estate cover the cost of stepped-up personal security.
The singer’s mother, meanwhile, filed paperwork saying her daughter should be permitted to hire an attorney of her choosing, rather than the court appointing one to represent her in the conservatorship. The court-appointed attorney who has been representing the singer, Samuel D. Ingham III, filed paperwork Tuesday announcing his resignation, as soon as another attorney is appointed for Spears.
Spears’ personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, claims in her court papers that since the singer appeared in court on June 23 and lashed out at the conservatorship and most of the people involved with it, Montgomery has seen a “marked increase” in threats directed at her on social media and through text messages, phone calls and emails.
“Many of the messages threaten violence and even death against petitioner (Montgomery),” according to the court papers. “… Security has determined the security risk to be serious enough to recommend that 24/7 physical security be provided to (Montgomery) on an interim basis in order to protect her from harm …”
According to the papers, the “physical security” has been in place at Montgomery’s home since June 30, with Spears’ estate “conditionally” covering the cost pending court approval. The documents state that the price for the security “is cost prohibitive for (Montgomery) to personally bear.”
The documents assert that despite Spears’ emotional testimony last month — in which she claimed she was being subjected to abusive treatment, forced to perform against her will, take medications she does not want and subjected to invasive therapy sessions — the singer has “informed (Montgomery) that she would like her to stay on as her conservator.”
Montgomery’s filing include a redacted copy of a text-message exchange with Spears, indicating Spears asked her to remain as her personal conservator and help her hire a new lawyer.
With Ingham and the Los Angeles law firm of Loeb & Loeb both submitting papers this week seeking to resign as Spears’ attorneys, the court would ordinarily appoint another one to represent the singer.
The singer’s mother, Lynne Spears, filed paperwork Tuesday asking that her daughter be permitted to choose her own attorney. Spears’ attorneys ask in the document that the court “listen to the wishes of her daughter,” starting with allowing her to hire her own legal counsel.
Britney Spears most notably in her testimony asked that the entire conservatorship be ended, without need for her to undergo another mental-health evaluation. In her court papers, Lynne Spears questioned the effectiveness of her daughter’s previous court-appointed attorneys, noting Britney Spears’ testimony that she was unaware she had the right to petition at any time to end the conservatorship.
Lynne Spears also suggested she agrees with her daughter’s request to lift the conservatorship, which was imposed in 2008 following questionable behavior by Britney Spears that included shaving her head.
“Now, and for the past many years, conservatee (Britney Spears) 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 celebrity,” according to Lynne Spears’ court filing. “To earn this money, conservatee has had to perform in front of millions of people, has had to manage hundreds of performances, has had to use her artistic and creative talents to prepare for shows by choreographing each and every move for and interacting with many co-performers, and has had to rehearse and perform for many thousands of hours over the years.
“… Her capacity is certainly different today than it was in 2008, and conservatee should no longer be held to the 2008 standard, whereby she was found to `not have the capacity to retain counsel.”’
Another hearing in the conservatorship is set for July 14.
On Monday, Spears’ longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, sent a letter to her conservators announcing his resignation, saying he has been informed that Spears is considering retiring from music altogether. Spears has not performed for more than two years, and she has previously indicated through her attorneys that she would not do so again as long as her father, Jamie, has a role in the conservatorship.
Jamie Spears, conservator of his daughter’s estate, filed court papers last week asking the court to investigate his daughter’s allegations of abusive treatment by those involved in the conservatorship “to determine what corrective actions, if any, need to be taken.”
Also last week, the wealth-management firm Bessemer Trust filed court papers seeking to withdraw as co-conservator of Spears’ estate, even though the company has never actually begun serving in that role. The firm was appointed in November, but the court papers weren’t signed until last week.
The long-lingering conservatorship has prompted her fans to launch a #FreeBritney movement, calling for an end to the oversight of the 39-year-old singer’s life and affairs.