Britney Spears' father has asked a judge to end her conservatorship in a shocking move that comes months after the pop star told the court the legal arrangement had allowed him to abuse her for years.
In a document filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday, an attorney for Jamie Spears wrote that if the 39-year-old singer "believes that she can handle her own life," then her father "believes she should get that chance."
"Mr. Spears believes that Ms. Spears is entitled to have this Court now seriously consider whether this conservatorship is no longer required," the petition states.
The petition comes days after the singer's attorney, Mathew Rosengart, accused him of trying to extort approximately $2 million from his daughter in exchange for resigning. Rosengart vowed to continue investigating Jamie Spears for any mismanagement of his daughter's estate in a statement to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday.
"This is a very significant victory for Britney Spears and there is no settlement; rather, our investigation will continue," the attorney said.
He also questioned Jamie Spears' motives for filing the petition.
"It appears that Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, but as we assess his filing — which was inappropriately sent to the media before it was served on counsel — we will continue to explore all options," Rosengart said.
Last month, Jamie Spears indicated — for the first time — that he was preparing to give up control of her estate, despite believing that there are “no actual grounds for suspending or removing” him, his attorney Vivian Thoreen wrote in a response to his daughter's request to remove him. Still, Thoreen said Jamie Spears would leave only after resolving certain issues, including outstanding payments to him, his legal team, and his daughter's former manager.
Rosengart said that the response amounted to "quid pro quo."
In July, Spears formally requested the court remove her father as conservator and replace him with a professional fiduciary and forensic accountant. The move was supported by Jodi Montgomery, the current conservator of the singer's personal life as well as her medical team, and her mother, Lynne Spears, according to court documents. The court is expected to consider her request at a Sept. 29 hearing.
Tuesday's filing was an unexpected development in the highly watched case, which sparked a fan movement to #FreeBritney. For years, Jamie Spears has dismissed calls to free his daughter from the court-mandated arrangement — which is typically used in cases of severe disability or dementia.
Even after Spears told the court in an emotional public hearing on June 23 that the arrangement that has put her father and a cast of lawyers in control of her life since 2008 was abusive, Jamie Spears resisted pressure to step aside.
During the hearing, Spears shared a series of shocking revelations, including that she'd like to get married and have another child, but she hasn't been able to make a doctor's appointment to remove her IUD under the conservatorship. She also said that what she's been through has been "demoralizing" and "embarrassing," and she wanted to be freed from the conservatorship without having to be evaluated.
“I just want my life back," Spears said during a virtual appearance in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
She also told the court that her father "loved the control" he had over her.
"He loved the control to hurt his own daughter, 100,000%," she said. "He loved it."
Days after her speech, Bessemer Trust, a wealth management firm that was appointed to manage Spears' estate with her father, filed to resign as a co-conservator, saying that it “heard the Conservatee and respects her wishes." In a separate filing, Jamie Spears denied any involvement in his daughter's care and asked the court to investigate her claims.
Then, on July 6, her court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham, resigned from her case. To replace him, Spears hired Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor known for taking on celebrity clients. Since then, Rosengart's team has been working to remove her father as conservator and investigate whether her estate was mismanaged under his tenure.
Spears' comments in June came months after the New York Times' Framing Britney Spears documentary was released, sparking a reexamination of how she was treated by the media before and during her public breakdown. The documentary also questioned the control that her father continues to hold over her financial and physical well-being given her return to a successful music career.
The day before Spears addressed the court, the Times reported that the singer had been pushing to end the conservatorship for years, confirming fans' long-held belief that she has always wanted out of it.