New attorney: Spears has retained former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, who attended the hearing Wednesday. The decision came after Spears told Judge Brenda Penny at a hearing last month that she wanted to hire her own attorney to advocate on her behalf, stating that she had been forced by her conservators to perform, take lithium and remain on birth control against her will.
Calls for justice: An emotional Spears said she would like to bring formal charges against her father Jamie over his role in the conservatorship. “I would like to charge my father with conservatorship abuse,” said Spears, speaking to the court by phone, breaking down in tears at times. “I want to press charges against my father today,” Spears said. “I want an investigation into my dad.”
Heartbreaking testimony: At one point during the hearing, Spears said she felt that those in the conservatorship “were trying to kill me.” “If this is not abuse, I don’t know what is,” the singer added. Spears called her conservatorship “f–king cruelty.” Spears told the court she was not willing to be evaluated to remove her father from the conservatorship, saying she has “serious abandonment issues.”
New attorney speaks: Spears’ new lawyer called on her father Jamie to voluntarily step down as her conservator, saying it was “in the best interest” of his client. “Jamie Spears should be removed as conservator because it is in [the] best interest of the conservatee,” Rosengart, a veteran entertainment litigator now representing the singer, said outside the courthouse today. “We will be moving promptly and aggressively for his removal. The question remains, why is he involved? He should step down voluntarily because that’s what’s in the best interest of the conservatee,” he added.
Past legal representation: Since the inception of Spears’ conservatorship in 2008, Samuel D. Ingham had been her court-appointed counsel. He submitted his petition to resign on July 6 after Spears criticized him and asked the court if she could hire her own counsel. In the filing, Ingham stated that the resignation would be effective upon the designation of new court-appointed counsel for Spears.
Britney Spears' new lawyer calls for her father to step down as conservator
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
Britney Spears’ new lawyer, speaking publicly on her behalf for the first time, called on her father Jamie to voluntarily step down as her conservator, saying it was “in the best interest” of his client.
“Jamie Spears should be removed as conservator because it is in [the] best interest of the conservatee,” Mathew Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor and veteran entertainment litigator now representing the singer, said outside the courthouse Wednesday.
“We will be moving promptly and aggressively for his removal. The question remains, why is he involved? He should step down voluntarily because that’s what’s in the best interest of the conservatee,” he added.
Rosengart praised Spears’ “courage, passion, and humanity” for speaking out in court, and called her testimony “clear, lucid, powerful, and compelling.”
“My firm and I will be taking a top to bottom look at what’s happened over the past decade,” said Rosengart.
Britney Spears on conservatorship: "I thought they were trying to kill me"
From CNN's Chloe Melas
Britney Spears addressed the court again today in a hearing about her conservatorship.
“If this is not abuse, I don’t know what is,” Spears added.
At times in her testimony, the singer sobbed.
Spears called her conservatorship “f–king cruelty” and said “if this is not abuse, I don’t know what is.”
Spears told the court she was not willing to be evaluated to remove her father from the conservatorship, saying she has “serious abandonment issues.”
Spears: "I would like to charge my father with conservatorship abuse"
From CNN's Chloe Melas
An emotional Britney Spears told a Los Angeles County judge today that she would like to bring formal charges against her father Jamie over his role in the conservatorship.
“I want to press charges against my father today,” Spears said. “I want an investigation into my dad.”
The comments came after Spears told Judge Brenda Penny at a hearing last month that she wanted to hire her own attorney to advocate on her behalf, stating that she had been forced by her conservators to perform, take lithium and remain on birth control against her will.
Some background: A conservatorship is a legal arrangement that gives a court-appointed individual, known as the conservator, the power to handle the financial and/or personal affairs of another adult who has been deemed incapacitated.
There’s been heightened interest in conservatorships since the February release of The New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” which explores the singer’s career and her court-ordered conservatorship, in place since 2008.
Though Spears’ conservatorship is by far the most high-profile, an estimated 1.3 million adults in the US are under similarly restrictive arrangements, with guardians and conservators controlling at least $50 billion in assets, according to the US Department of Justice.
Britney Spears allowed to hire her own attorney in conservatorship battle
From CNN's Chloe Melas
A request by Britney Spears to hire her own attorney to represent her in her ongoing conservatorship battle has been granted by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Spears has retained former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, who attended the hearing Wednesday.
The decision came after Spears told Judge Brenda Penny at a hearing last month that she wanted to hire her own attorney to advocate on her behalf, stating that she had been forced by her conservators to perform, take lithium and remain on birth control against her will.
Since the inception of Spears’ conservatorship in 2008, Samuel D. Ingham has been her court-appointed counsel. He submitted his petition to resign on July 6 after Spears criticized him and asked the court if she could hire her own counsel.
What Britney Spears' family has said about her conservatorship
From CNN's Alyssa Kraus and Chloe Melas
Britney Spears’ testimony from her June court hearing led to an outpouring of support from fans and celebrities alike. Some of her immediate relatives have also commented — either publicly or through court documents — on the case since the singer spoke.
Here’s what some of her family members have said since the June hearing:
Jamie Lynn Spears:
Britney Spears’ younger sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, said she is “proud” of her older sister for speaking out against the 13-year conservatorship. “If ending the conservatorship and flying to Mars or whatever the hell else she wants to do to be happy, I support that one hundred percent because I support my sister, I love my sister. Always have, always will,” Jamie Lynn Spears said on her Instagram.
The younger sister also defended her silence over Britney Spears’ case in the past. “Maybe I didn’t support the way the public would like me to — with a hashtag on a public platform — but I can assure you that I support my sister long before there was a hashtag and I’ll support her long after,” she said.
On June 30, Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, asked the court to investigate his daughter’s claims of abuse. “Either the allegations will be shown to be true, in which case corrective action must be taken,” a petition from his attorneys, obtained by CNN, reads, “or they will be shown to be false, in which case the conservatorship can continue its course.”
In a court filing on July 8, Jamie Spears stated that he and others involved in his daughter’s case have received death threats as a result of the legal battle. Jamie Spears, according to the filing, “has been the subject of innumerable and ongoing threats as well — not just recently, but for years.”
Before Britney Spears’ allegations in June, Jamie Spears expressed his devotion to the singer when speaking to CNN in December 2020. “I love my daughter and I miss her very much. When a family member needs special care and protection, families need to step up, as I have done for the last 12-plus years, to safeguard, protect and continue to love Britney unconditionally,” he said.
Britney Spears’ mother, Lynne Spears, asked the court to allow her daughter to choose her own counsel on July 6, following her daughter’s allegations in June. In a court filing obtained by CNN, the mother stated via her attorneys that Britney Spears is in a different place than she was in 2008 when the conservatorship began. Lynne Spears also noted that her daughter is now able to care for herself.
“Now, and for the past many years, Conservatee is able to care for her person and in fact has, within the parameters of this conservatorship, earned literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity,” the petition states.
Catch up: Here's what has happened in the 3 weeks since Britney Spears spoke in court
From CNN's Chloe Melas and Alyssa Kraus
Last month, Britney Spears broke her silence over her conservatorship, addressing the court on June 23. The arrangement has since remained in the spotlight with several new advancements rolling out in the past few weeks.
Here’s everything you need to know since the singer appeared in court:
June 23: Britney Spears virtually addressed the court regarding her conservatorship. In her 20-minute speech, she called the arrangement “abusive,” and criticized her family and others involved in managing her day-to-day affairs and medical care. Many celebrities showed support for the singer online after her hearing.
June 24: Britney Spears apologized to fans for “pretending like I’ve been ok the past two years” through an Instagram post.
June 30: CNN obtained a petition from the singer’s father and co-conservator of her estate, Jamie Spears, in which he asks the court to investigate his daughter’s allegations of abuse. He also asked that the court not grant the request for Jodi Montgomery, a temporary conservator, to be appointed the permanent conservator of Britney Spears’ case. The same day, a judge denied a November 2020 request to remove Jamie Spears as conservator of the singer’s estate. This ruling was not a result of the June 23 hearing.
July 2: Bessemer Trust, a wealth and investment management firm appointed as co-conservator in August 2020, asked to resign, citing “changed circumstances.”
July 5: The singer’s longtime manager, Larry Rudolph resigned. Rudolph’s letter of resignation stated that he resigned since becoming “aware that Britney had been voicing her intention to officially retire.”
July 6: Britney Spears’ mother, Lynne Spears, asked the Los Angeles County Superior Court to allow her daughter to choose her own attorney, saying Britney Spears is in a different place compared to when the conservatorship began. The same day, Britney Spears’ court-appointed attorney of 13 years submitted a petition to resign.
July 7: Jodi Montgomery, a temporary conservator who oversees the singer’s medical care, submitted a petition stating Britney Spears requested Montgomery’s help in finding her an attorney. Montgomery’s filing asked the court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem to aide in the process of helping the singer hire a lawyer.
July 8: Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, submitted another petition, this time asking the court to reject Montgomery’s request for estate conservators to cover the cost of additional security for herself after allegedly receiving death threats since the June 23 hearing. Jamie Spears stated that he and others involved in the case have already received death threats and harassment for years.
July 12: Britney Spears consulted with Mathew Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, about potentially representing her in her conservatorship battle, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. Rosengart is a veteran entertainment litigator who has represented Steven Spielberg and Sean Penn in the past.
#FreeBritney supporters are rallying on both US coasts
From CNN's Alyssa Kraus
Fans and activists are rallying in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, today as part of the viral #FreeBritney movement, which advocates for the singer’s freedom from her 13-year conservatorship.
#FreeBritney supporters gathered as another court hearing in Britney Spears’ legal battle takes place in Los Angeles, where Spears is expected to virtually attend. It’s not clear if she will speak at today’s hearing.
Spears last addressed the court on June 23, when she referred to her legal arrangement as “abusive.” In a 20-minute speech, Spears said she has no control over her own privacy and is not allowed to manage her reproductive rights.
“I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough,” she said.
During Spears’ June hearing, fans around the world also rallied in support. In the US, #FreeBritney fans gathered across the nation in cities such as Los Angeles, New Orleans, Atlanta and New York City. Similarly, international support was shown in countries such as England, Norway and Germany.
Here’s a look at the rallies unfolding today:
Supporters of pop star Britney Spears participate in a #FreeBritney rally at the Lincoln memorial on Wednesday, July 14, in Washington, DC.
Fans and supporters of Britney Spears gather outside the Los Angeles County Courthouse in Los Angeles, on Wednesday, July 14, during a scheduled hearing in the Britney Spears guardianship case.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
People rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial protesting the conservatorship of Britney Spears on Wednesday, July 14, in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand next to US Representative Matt Gaetz as he speaks to fans and supporters of Britney Spears gathered outside the Los Angeles County Courthouse in Los Angeles, on Wednesday, July 14, during a scheduled hearing in the Britney Spears guardianship case.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Here's what happened when Britney Spears addressed the court last month
From CNN's Chloe Melas
There’s another court hearing for Britney Spears’ conservatorship case today, and she’s expected to call in. Previously, Spears addressed the court on June 23, pleading her case to have the longstanding arrangement lifted.
Here’s what went down in that hearing:
Fans rally support: Spears fans and activists gathered in Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles as part of a “#FreeBritney” rally. Other similar rallies were scheduled across the country and internationally. Those attending hoped to bring an end to Britney Spears’ conservatorship case, which leaves Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, in control of her $60 million estate.
Britney Spears, in her own words: Britney Spears requested to address Judge Brenda Penny to speak out about the arrangement. The singer attended the hearing virtually by phone. She spoke more than 20 minutes as she read from a letter, saying “I’ve told the world I’m happy and OK … I’m traumatized. I’m not happy, I can’t sleep.”
On her family: Britney Spears said, “A lot has happened since two years ago…the last time I was in court,” she began. “I haven’t been back to court in a long time because I don’t think I was heard on any level when I came to court the last time.” Spears went on to say that she felt she had been forced to go on tour in 2018 and perform in Las Vegas during her residency. In response to her remarks, Vivian Thoreen, an attorney for Jamie Spears told CNN, “Mr. Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much.”
On medication: The singer said that she was put on lithium against her will. “I felt drunk. I couldn’t even stick up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad about anything. I told them I was scared and they had six different nurses come to my home to monitor me while I was on this medication that I didn’t want to be on to begin with.” Lithium is commonly used to treat bipolar disorder, which often causes episodes of depression and mania, a feeling of uncontrolled irritability or excitement. It can also be used to treat depression. In court, Spears did not mention any possible medical condition.
On starting a family: Britney Spears said that she wants to start a family with her boyfriend, Sam Asghari. “I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby,” she said. “I have an I[U]D inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the IUD out so I could start trying to have another baby, but this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children, any more children.”
Pleading with the court: Britney Spears pleaded with a judge to take her concerns seriously regarding her court-ordered conservatorship. “The last time I spoke to you…made me feel like I was dead, like I didn’t matter, like nothing had been done to me, like you thought I was lying,” Spears said. “I want to be heard. I’m telling you this again so that maybe you understand the depth and degree and the damage…I want and deserve changes going forward.”
Read more about the court hearing on June 23 here.
Before this hearing, a judge denied Britney Spears' request to remove her father as conservator
From CNN's Alyssa Kraus, Chloe Melas and Kelly McCleary
A hearing in Britney Spears’ conservatorship case is scheduled in California today. But late last month, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied the motion to remove Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, as conservator of his daughter’s $60 million estate.
This decision from Judge Brenda Penny came one week after the singer addressed the court on June 23. However, the decision to deny the motion was a result of a November 2020 request which asked the court to add Bessemer Trust to serve as co-conservator alongside the singer’s father.
The judge did not consider the allegations made in the June hearing.
“The conservator’s request to suspend James P. Spears immediately upon the appointment of Bessemer Trust Company of California as sole conservator of estate is denied without prejudice,” the court filing states.
These celebrities have rallied behind Britney Spears
From CNN's Alyssa Kraus, Lisa Respers France and Chloe Melas
After breaking her silence last month, Britney Spears received an outpouring of support from fellow celebrities.
And that’s exactly what stars, such as Mariah Carey, Andy Cohen, Christina Aguilera, Sarah Jessica Parker and Brandy, did on Twitter.
Madonna posted a throwback photo of herself in a shirt that read “Britney Spears” to her Instagram stories with the caption: “Give this woman her life back. Slavery was abolished so long ago! Death to the greedy patriarchy that has been doing this to women for centuries. This is a violation of human rights! Britney we coming to get you out of jail!”
Here are some celebrity tweets:
Sarah Jessica Parker
ACLU files amicus brief in Britney Spears' conservatorship case
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed an amicus brief with the Los Angeles County Superior Court this week, asking the court to allow Britney Spears to choose her own attorney in her nearly 13-year conservatorship.
“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 so wishes,” the ACLU wrote in its filing, obtained by CNN. “Amici submit this brief to emphasize the importance – under California law, and under California and United States – of protecting a conservatee’s right to select an attorney whom she trusts to advocate zealously for her expressed interests.”
Britney Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship since 200 and has been represented by court-appointed counsel Samuel Ingham for the entirety of the arrangement. In a hearing last month, Spears called the conservatorship “abusive” and said she would like to have the ability to select her own attorney. Ingham filed a petition to resign last week.
In its filing, the ACLU also advocated for the singer to have the tools and support she needs to select her counsel in the case, “including information and confidential access to communication mechanisms such as telephone, internet, and videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom or Skype.”
Another hearing is scheduled today for the conservatorship in Los Angeles.
CNN’s Cheri Mossburg contributed to this reporting.
Here's a timeline of Britney Spears' case
From CNN's Chloe Melas and Alyssa Kraus
The second court hearing since Britney Spears broke her silence over her conservatorship will take place today.
January 2008: Britney Spears was hospitalized twice. The first incident occurred in early January, when she underwent drug and alcohol testing and a psychiatric evaluation after a custody dispute at her home. The second hospitalization occurred in late January, and she was released nearly one week later.
October 2008: Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, was permanently appointed as a joint conservator of his daughter’s estate, along with attorney Andrew Wallet. This decision came after a series of personal issues played out publicly for the singer. However, in 2019, Wallet resigned and Jamie Spears became the sole conservator of Britney Spears’ $60 million estate.
November 2018: Jamie Spears was hospitalized for intestinal issues. He spends 28 days at the Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas before continuing recovery at home.
September 2019: Jodi Montgomery temporarily filled the role as conservator, overseeing her health and medical decisions.
August 2020: Britney Spears’ former court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham III, requested Jamie Spears be removed as conservator of the singer’s estate and requested a judge enlist Bessemer Trust, a wealth and investment management firm, to oversee Britney’s estate. In November, the judge declined to remove Jamie Spears as conservator of Britney’s estate but appointed Bessemer Trust to act as co-conservator.
December 2020: CNN obtained court documents in which Ingham said the singer would not perform again as long as her father remained in control of her fortune.
February 2021: The New York Times debuted a documentary spotlighting Spears’ conservatorship called, “Framing Britney Spears.” It sparks international interest into the ongoing conservatorship, with many calling on it to end via the viral #FreeBritney movement.
March 2021: Ingham requested that Jamie Spears be permanently replaced by Montgomery as conservator. In a filing obtained by CNN, Ingham cites an order filed on Oct. 10, 2014 that determined Britney Spears had an “incapacity to consent to any form of medical treatment” as the reason why Montgomery should take over full conservatorship.
April 2021: Ingham announced that “Britney wants to address the court directly,” and a hearing was put on the schedule for June 23.
June 2021: Britney Spears appeared remotely in court and pleaded with a judge to take her concerns regarding her court-ordered conservatorship seriously. In her 20-minute address, the pop star petitioned to end the conservatorship, which she called “abusive.” Among other claims, Britney Spears said she was put on medication against her will, was prevented from managing her own reproductive rights and was forced to work tirelessly on her music career. One week following the hearing, a judge denied a November 2020 request to remove her father from the conservatorship. This decision did not consider the singer’s claims from a week prior.
July 2021: Both Britney Spears’ longtime manager and her court-appointed attorney resigned from their positions after the singer spoke out. In addition, Britney Spears’ mother asked the court to allow her daughter to choose her own attorney, adding that Britney Spears is in a different place compared to when the conservatorship began and that the singer is now able to care for herself.
You've probably heard the word "conservatorship" a lot. Here's what it means.
From CNN's Alyssa Kraus
Britney Spears will virtually attend another court hearing about her conservatorship today. But what does that mean exactly?
A “conservatorship” is when a guardian is legally responsible for protecting and managing another person’s finances, medical decisions and life choices. This decision is made when the person under the conservatorship is mentally or physically unable to care for themselves.
The appointed guardian in a conservatorship is referred to as a “conservator” – in Britney Spears’ case, it is her father, Jamie Spears.
Britney Spears’ court-ordered conservatorship was made permanent in October 2008. The singer has since called the arrangement “abusive” and pleaded with a judge to end the conservatorship altogether.
“I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough,” Britney Spears said.
However, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge recently denied a motion to remove Jamie Spears from his role as conservator. It is important to note that this decision was made in regard to a November 2020 request and did not consider the claims made by the singer in June.
There's another court hearing in Britney Spears' conservatorship case soon
From CNN's Alyssa Kraus
Today, Britney Spears is expected to remotely attend another court hearing since breaking the silence over her conservatorship.
Spears told Judge Brenda Penny at the hearing last month that she wanted to hire her own attorney to advocate on her behalf. Today, Judge Penny is expected to consider the singer’s request for new counsel, along with other petitions in the case.
It’s not clear whether Britney Spears will address the court again in today’s hearing.
During a hearing on June 23, Spears pleaded to end her 13-year conservatorship, a legal decision which appoints a guardian to manage the finances, medical decisions and overall daily life of another person.
That was the first time she had addressed the court since her former court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham III, filed to suspend her father, Jamie Spears, as the conservator of her estimated $60 million estate last year. (Since that hearing, a judge denied the motion to remove the singer’s father from his role as a conservator.)
“I’m traumatized. I’m not happy, I can’t sleep,” she continued.
During the June hearing, Spears pleaded with the judge to take her claims seriously. She said she had been placed on lithium, a medication for bipolar disorder which often causes episodes of depression and mania, against her will.
Britney Spears also said she was forced to tirelessly perform on tour, had no control over her own privacy and was not allowed to manage her reproductive rights.
“My family didn’t do a God damn thing,” she said. “Anything I had to do, [my dad] was the one who approved all of it. My whole family did nothing.”