Britney Spears retains a high-powered attorney

Everything that has happened since Spears' bombshell June 23 hearing.

ByGood Morning America via logo
July 14, 2021, 8:10 PM

Britney Spears addressed California Superior Court Judge Brenda J. Penny on Wednesday, stating her desire to have her father removed from her conservatorship. "I am here to get rid of my dad," she said.

She also said during Wednesday's hearing that she wanted to charge her father, Jamie Spears, with conservator abuse. Vivian Thoreen, Jamie's attorney, later stated that there have been "a lot of misstatements" in Britney's testimonies.

Britney was also able to choose a new attorney. Penny approved former federal prosecutor Mathew S. Rosengart to be the pop star's new legal counsel. The judge also approved Samuel D. Ingham III's request to resign as the singer's court-appointed attorney.

While Rosengart appeared in person in court, Britney and Jamie Spears called in via telephone. Also appearing remotely were Britney's mother, Lynne Spears, and Jodi Montgomery, who has served as the conservator of the singer's personal affairs since 2019 when Jamie vacated the role.

Penny also approved the request from Bessemer Trust to step down as co-conservator in the handling of Britney's estate, leaving Jamie in control of her finances. Jamie's involvement in the conservatorship has been a point of contention for some time; during Wednesday's hearing, Britney spoke about her "serious abandonment issues" and said that as a child, she was "extremely scared" of her father.

"My dad needs to be removed [from the conservatorship] today," she said, adding that she approved of Montgomery's job as conservator of her person.

These developments came three weeks to the day after her bombshell testimony about her conservatorship on June 23. This testimony did more than just make headlines -- it served as the catalyst for several changes regarding her 13-year conservatorship.

Britney, 39, has been in a conservatorship since 2008, when she was hospitalized for mental health reasons.

Over the past few years, a fan-led movement aimed at seeing Britney regain control over her life and career, #FreeBritney, has gained steam. This sentiment -- and scrutiny of Jamie -- only grew after the release of The New York Times-produced documentary "Framing Britney Spears" on Hulu in February.

Thoreen, told "Good Morning America" later that month, "I understand that every story wants to have a villain, but people have it so wrong here."

Britney's version is different. As the singer's conservatorship case continues, here's what was said during her testimony last month and everything that has happened since then.

June 23: Britney pleads for judge to end conservatorship

During her testimony, Britney passionately pleaded for an end to her 13-year conservatorship, telling the judge "I just want my life back."

"I've lied and told the whole world I'm OK and I'm happy. It's a lie," she told Judge Penny, saying she believed that if she said this enough times it might come true. "I've been in denial. I've been in shock. I am traumatized. I'm not happy. I can't sleep. I'm so angry it's insane. And I'm depressed. I cry every day."

Britney levied serious claims against her conservators, particularly against Jamie. She detailed how her therapist changed her normal medications and put her on lithium as well as how she was forced to work and attend expensive treatment programs against her will.

The singer also expressed the desire to "get married and have a baby" but, said her conservatorship doesn't allow for either. Britney, who is currently dating "Hacks" actor Sam Asghari, explained that she has an intrauterine device, or IUD, that prevents her from getting pregnant. The mother of two claimed that those in charge of her conservatorship wouldn't allow a doctor to remove it because they don't want her to have any more children.

Britney said she deserves "changes" and "to have a life," adding that she "would honestly like to sue my family" and that "my dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship ... should be in jail" and "should not be able to walk away so easily."

"It's embarrassing and demoralizing what I've been through -- and that's the main reason I've never said it openly," she said, noting that she wasn't heard the last time she had addressed the court in 2019 during a closed hearing. "I didn't want to say it openly because I honestly didn't think anyone would believe me."

The pop star called for her conservatorship to end "without having to be evaluated," adding that she feels the current arrangement is "abusive" and is "doing me way more harm than good."

In response, a lawyer for Jamie read the following statement in court: "He is sorry to hear his daughter in so much pain. Mr. Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much."

It didn't take long for the world to react to Britney's testimony, with celebrities, including ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, to openly express support for her.

On June 28, Britney's former "Mickey Mouse Club" co-star Christina Aguilera penned a passionate essay calling her fellow pop star's conservatorship "unacceptable."

June 24: Britney breaks her silence on social media

In her first post since her testimony, shared on June 24, Britney sent a message to her Instagram followers in which she expressed regret for not being more transparent about her life. She also explained that she used the social media platform as an escape from her reality.

"I believe as people we all want the fairy tale life and by the way I've posted ... my life seems to look and be pretty amazing ... I think that's what we all strive for," she began. "I don't want people to think my life is perfect because IT'S DEFINITELY NOT AT ALL."

Britney apologized for "pretending like I've been ok the past two years" -- a complete turn from when she said she was "totally fine" and "extremely happy" just months ago.

"I did because of my pride and I was embarrassed to share what happened to me … but honestly who doesn't want to capture their Instagram in a fun light," she continued. "Believe it or not pretending that I'm ok has actually helped."

Then, on June 28, she shared an optimistic message from Maui, having traveled to Hawaii with Asghari. "More to come ... more to share ... more to dream ... more to hope for ... and many more to pray for," she wrote in a post.

June 28: Jamie Lynn Spears speaks out

In a series of Instagram Stories seemingly directed at critics, Jamie Lynn Spears said she was "proud" of her big sister for finally speaking out about her conservatorship.

The "Zoey 101" star explained that she hadn't spoken out previously because she felt it was important for Britney "to speak for herself and say what she felt she needed to say publicly" first. Jamie Lynn said she has "only loved, adored and supported" her sister and she is "only concerned about her happiness."

"Maybe I didn't support her the way the public would like me to, with a hashtag on a public platform, but I can assure you that I've supported my sister long before there was a hashtag and I'll support her long after," she added, seemingly calling out the #FreeBritney movement.

The former Nickelodeon star added that she has made a "very conscious choice" in her life to "only participate in [Britney's] life as her sister and as an aunt to those boys," referring to her nephews, Britney's sons, Sean and Jayden.

Jamie Lynn spoke out again on July 6, asking to be left alone amid her sister's ongoing conservatorship controversy.

June 30: Petition to remove Jamie from conservatorship officially denied by judge, Bessemer Trust approved as co-conservator of Britney's estate

Britney's request to remove her father from her conservatorship was formally denied on June 30, after having been filed in November 2020. It was at this hearing that Bessemer Trust was also approved as co-conservator alongside Jamie in managing Britney's estate.

"The conservatee's request to suspend JAMES P. SPEARS immediately upon the appointment of BESSEMER TRUST COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA, N.A. as sole conservator of estate is denied without prejudice," according to the papers signed by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda J. Penny.

PHOTO: Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears leaves the Los Angeles County Superior courthouse on March 10, 2008.
Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears leaves the Los Angeles County Superior courthouse on March 10, 2008.
AFP via Getty Images, FILE

June 30: Jamie expresses concern over Britney's well-being, Montgomery responds

In the wake of the shocking allegations made by Britney during her testimony, Jamie said via his lawyers that he was "concerned" about his daughter's mental and physical well-being, reiterating that he is not the conservator of Britney's person and that he isn't sure if Montgomery continuing to act in that capacity is "appropriate" for the singer.

Jamie's representation filed paperwork explaining that he "does not speak or meet with Ms. Spears' medical team, and he is not permitted to nor does he have the opportunity to provide any input into his daughter's current medical treatment, diagnosis or therapy" unlike Montgomery.

"Nor does Mr. Spears participate in or discuss Ms. Spears' personal affairs with her, such as issues related to her self-care, marriage, and reproductive desire," the paperwork continued.

Lauriann Wright, Montgomery's attorney, told "Good Morning America" in a statement that her client has been "a tireless advocate for Britney and her well-being" since she was appointed as conservator of the singer's person.

"If Britney wants any issue brought up to the Court, Ms. Montgomery is and has always been ready, willing, and able to do so," the statement read. "From the very beginning of her appointment in September 2019, Ms. Montgomery and the medical team that she assembled have had one primary goal – to assist and encourage Britney in her path to no longer needing a conservatorship of the person."

July 1: Bessemer Trust pulls out of conservatorship

On July 1, the day after formally being approved as co-conservator of Britney's estate, attorneys for Bessemer Trust filed resignation paperwork asking for the wealth management firm to be removed from the role in the wake of Britney's testimony.

"Petitioner has become aware that the Conservatee [Spears] objects to the continuance of her Conservatorship and desires to terminate the Conservatorship," the documents read. "Petitioner [Bessemer Trust] has heard the Conservatee and respects her wishes."

Bessemer Trust had not been able to act as co-conservator until approved by the judge on June 30 and therefore had not taken any actions in the position, nor had it taken any fees, according to court documents.

Once this motion is approved, Jamie will be the sole conservator of his daughter's estate once again.

July 5: Britney's longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, resigns

In a letter dated July 5 and addressed to the co-executors of Britney's conservatorship, the singer's longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, explained why he wanted to step down from the role he's held since 1995.

"It has been over 2 1/2 years since Britney and I last communicated, at which time she informed me she wanted to take an indefinite work hiatus," Rudolph wrote in the note, which was obtained by Deadline, adding that he recently became aware of Britney's "intention to officially retire."

He continued: "As you know, I have never been a part of the conservatorship nor its operations, so I am not privy to many of these details. I was originally hired at Britney's request to help manage and assist her with her career. And as her manager, I believe it is in Britney's best interest for me to resign from her team, as my professional services are no longer needed."

"I will always be incredibly proud of what we accomplished over our 25 years together," Rudolph concluded. "I wish Britney all the health and happiness in the world, and I'll be there for her if she ever needs me again, just as I always have been."

July 6: Britney's court-appointed attorney resigns

On July 6, Samuel D. Ingham III, Britney's court-appointed attorney, resigned in letters submitted by himself and his co-counsel, Loeb & Loeb LLP, on July 6. In the documents, obtained by ABC News, the lawyer asked that the resignation be effective upon the appointment of a new counsel.

Ingham had faced scrutiny in the wake of Britney's testimony, during which she said she didn't know she could petition the conservatorship to end. He has not commented on any discussions he may have had with Britney on the subject as they are subject to attorney-client privilege.

The same day, Lynne filed a petition via her representatives for Britney to be able to choose her own lawyer or have the court appoint a lawyer of her daughter's choosing.

"It is beyond dispute that this is a unique conservatorship," Lynne's filing read. "Her capacity is certainly different than it was in 2008 [when the conservatorship was established], and Conservatee should no longer be held to the 2008 standards, whereby she was found to not have the capacity to retain counsel."

July 7: Montgomery files for GAL, requests additional security

Montgomery filed for a Guardian ad Litem, or GAL, to be installed to help Britney select new legal representation. Through her lawyers, she stated her belief that a large firm would be the best choice due to the complexities of the conservatorship and Britney's desire "for litigators just like her father has."

"While Ms. Montgomery is always driven to help Ms. Spears in whatever way she can, there is no question that Ms. Montgomery's input on Ms. Spears' counsel is beyond her powers as the Conservator of the Person and is inappropriate in light of Ms. Spears' recent criticisms of her conservatorship," Montgomery's filing read. "Nonetheless, Ms. Montgomery has heard her words and wants to honor her wishes."

In a separate court filing, Montgomery asked for added security due to a "marked increase in the number and severity of threatening messages she's received recently and that a security company recommended a 24/7 security detail until Montgomery can "make certain security improvements" at her home.

"The cost of physical security, although deemed urgent and necessary at this time for Petitioner, is cost-prohibitive for Petitioner to personally bear. Unless and until this Court approves the expense, Petitioner remains personally liable for it," the document read. "Thus, we are asking this Court to approve the expense as soon as possible."

Jamie has made it clear in court filings that he is opposed to financing that security.

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