“My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father. She also stated that she will not perform as long as her father is in charge of her career,” Samuel D. Ingham III claimed. “We are really at a crossroads.”
In response, one of Jamie’s lawyers, Vivian Lee Thoreen, brushed off Ingham’s comments as hearsay and claimed that he has prevented Britney, 38, from speaking to Jamie, 68.
The hearing was held to determine whether Jamie will remain the co-conservator of Britney’s estate. However, Judge Brenda Penny ultimately decided not to suspend Jamie on Tuesday, saying the matter can be further discussed “down the road.” The judge did, however, approve a corporate fiduciary, Bessemer Trust, to serve alongside Jamie.
Britney’s mother, Lynne Spears, who has been divorced from Jamie since 2002, is considered an interested party in the case, although she has never had a formal role in her daughter’s conservatorship. During Tuesday’s hearing, Lynne’s attorney, Gladstone Jones, said, “It has broken Lynne’s heart to watch that this has come to this point. … Lynne believes the time is now to start fresh given the circumstance of Britney’s request.”
Jones also claimed that when Lynne, 65, asked her ex-husband about Britney’s health care last summer, Jamie compared the former Mouseketeer to “a racehorse who has to be handled like one.”
Jamie was appointed the Grammy winner’s conservator in February 2008 after her public breakdown, putting him in charge of her medical and financial decisions, among other powers. He stepped down as conservator of her person in September 2019, citing “personal health reasons,” but remained conservator of her estate.
Britney requested to have Jamie removed from the case entirely in August, stating in court documents obtained by Us Weekly that she was “strongly opposed” to his return. In his place, she asked that Jodi Montgomery, the care manager who temporarily took over as conservator of her person, “continue in that role” and that Bessemer Trust Company, a private wealth management firm, oversee her estate.
Britney’s attorney Ingham was granted permission in October to hire a law firm to assist in their legal battle against Jamie. In response, the former building contractor argued that bringing additional lawyers onto the case would take away more money from Britney’s multimillion-dollar fortune.
Jamie made a case for why he should have remained co-conservator of the estate in court documents filed earlier this month, noting that he managed Britney’s business affairs and assets for years and once saved her from potential financial ruin.
The Crossroads star, who has not released an album in more than four years, announced in January 2019 that she was going on an indefinite work hiatus. She subsequently spent one month in a mental health facility. A source exclusively told Us in August that “there has been significant improvement in Britney’s overall medical treatment plan” since Jamie stepped down as the conservator of her person.
Fans have called for the conservatorship to end using the hashtag #FreeBritney on social media. Britney acknowledged the movement for the first time in September, saying in court documents obtained by Us that she “welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans.” In a November 2 Instagram video, she assured her followers that she is “the happiest [she’s] ever been” in her life.
With reporting by Marjorie Hernandez