Three weeks after Britney Spears’ impassioned court appearance demanding an end to the conservatorship that has governed her life for 13 years, a Los Angeles judge Wednesday approved the singer’s request to hire her own attorney rather than have one appointed for her.
The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny comes following the resignation of Spears’ longtime court-appointed counsel, Samuel D. Ingham III. Ingham submitted court papers following last month’s court hearing in which the singer blasted her family and virtually everyone involved in the conspiracy, saying she has been subjected to conditions akin to slavery and sex-trafficking.
Spears spoke to the court via telephone Wednesday, again lashing out at her father, Jamie Spears, who is the conservator of his daughter’s estate. Spears has repeatedly asked for his removal from the conservatorship, and on Wednesday accused him of “abuse.”
With Penny’s blessing, Spears will now be represented by former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart.
Rosengart, 58, is a partner at the law firm Greenberg Traurig. He once served as a law clerk for then-New Hampshire state judge David Souter shortly before Souter was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.
After leaving the Justice Department, Rosengart worked as a civil litigator, and his clients have included Hollywood personalities Sean Penn, Steven Spielberg and Kenneth Lonergan.
Spears’ mother, Lynne, recently filed paperwork in support of her daughter’s request to hire her own attorney. With Ingham and the Los Angeles law firm of Loeb & Loeb both submitting papers seeking to resign as Spears’ attorneys, the court would ordinarily appoint another one to represent the singer.
Meanwhile, Spears’ personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, claims in 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.”
Jamie Spears, conservator of his daughter’s estate, filed court papers recently 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.”
The long-lingering conservatorship has prompted Spears’ fans to launch an online #FreeBritney movement, calling for an end to the oversight of the 39-year-old singer’s life and affairs. Organizers of the movement held a colorful rally outside the downtown courthouse while the hearing was held.
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