Britney Spears conservatorship hearing

By Chloe Melas, Veronica Rocha, Fernando Alfonso III and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:15 PM ET, Wed July 14, 2021
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6:58 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

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.

"I thought they were trying to kill me," the singer told the court.

"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.”

6:25 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

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 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.”

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.

7:33 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

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.

6:01 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

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.

Jamie Spears:

  • 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.

Lynne Spears:

  • 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.
5:50 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

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.

Read more about Britney Spears' timeline here.

5:24 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

#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.
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.
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.
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.
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

5:16 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

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.

4:59 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

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.

4:40 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

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.

Spears' former boyfriend, singer and actor Justin Timberlake, took to social media to stand with her, saying, "After what we saw today, we should all be supporting Britney at this time."

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:

  • Mariah Carey:
  • Andy Cohen
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Sarah Jessica Parker
  • Brandy
  • Justin Timberlake: