Britney Spears' mother said in a court filing on Tuesday that her daughter has been "able to care for" herself for years and asked the court to allow the pop star to hire her own attorney in her ongoing conservatorship battle.
In a petition filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, attorneys for Lynne Spears wrote that the 39-year-old singer's public statement in court last month was "very courageous" as they asked the court to "listen to the wishes of her daughter."
The filing acknowledges that while the circumstances around the legal arrangement that gave Spears' father and a team of lawyers control over her life and her finances in 2008 were "unique," much has changed since then.
"Now, and for the past many years, [Britney Spears] is able to care for her person and in fact has, inside of the parameters of this conservatorship, earned literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity," the petition reads.
Early in her conservatorship, Spears attempted to hire her own attorneys, as chronicled by a recent New Yorker article, but the judge who oversaw the arrangement back then ruled — without the pop star's testimony — that she did not have the capacity to retain her own counsel.
"Her capacity is certainly different today than it was in 2008," Lynne Spears' attorneys wrote.
Along with requesting an order to appoint a private attorney of Britney Spears' choosing, her mother's attorneys laid out several of the specific changes Spears called for in her June 23 comments, including that her father be removed as a conservator, that the conservatorship be ended without her "having to endure another evaluation," and that she be allowed "to ride in her boyfriend's car," "own her own money," and "have her IUD removed."
"This Motion to Appoint Private Counsel is of the utmost importance and may very well impact each and every of the other requests submitted by [Britney] in her live testimony," the document states. "Clearly [Britney] needs private counsel to advise her as to her basic rights in this conservatorship."
The petition also asked that the court consider the issue on an expedited basis.
Lynne Spears' request came as her daughter's court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham, notified the court that he was resigning from the case, which he had been involved in since it began in February 2008.
During her statement in court, Spears said she had not known that she could petition to end the legal arrangement — a claim that has put additional scrutiny on Ingham.
For years, fans who have pushed to #FreeBritney questioned whether Ingham was acting in Spears' best interest. The day before she addressed the court, the New York Times reported that Spears had pushed to end the conservatorship for years. Indeed, during her public statement, she told the judge she wanted to be freed.
But Ingham — who, according to the Times, is paid $475 an hour to represent Spears and made about $373,000 for his work with her in 2019 — has never filed a petition to terminate the arrangement.
In a separate filing on Wednesday, an attorney for Jodi Montgomery, who is currently in charge of the singer's personal life, asked the court to appoint a new guardian to assist Spears in her search for her own attorney, saying that the pop star has asked Montgomery to help her but that the conservator's input "is beyond her powers" and "inappropriate in light of Ms. Spears' recent criticisms of her conservatorship."
"Recognizing both the demands of the conservatorship and Ms. Spears’ desire for more autonomy, Petitioner believes that a Guardian ad Litem for this limited purpose is the only way to both honor her wish to select counsel without a medical evaluation and protect her interests," the petition states.
Attorneys for Montgomery also requested on Wednesday an order instructing the conservator of Spears' estate, her father, Jamie Spears, to pay for Montgomery's security expenses, saying that in the wake of Spears' testimony "there has been a marked increase in the number and severity of threatening posts about Petitioner."
"Many of the messages threaten violence and even death against Petitioner," the document reads.
Montgomery's attorneys wrote that she has been forwarding all of the "threatening communications" to the estate's security company and that it has deemed the risk to be "serious enough to recommend that 24/7 physical security be provided."
As a result, security has been at Montgomery's home since June 30, according to the document, and is "being conditionally paid for" by the estate "because it is cost-prohibitive" for the conservator to pay for it personally. Under the conservatorship, Spears' father requires Montgomery to get court approval to pay for security, her attorneys said.