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Britney Spears Can Choose Her Own Lawyer In Conservatorship Case, A Judge Has Ruled

Protesters at a #FreeBritney Rally outside the Los Angeles Courthouse today. A judge has cleared the pop star to choose her own lawyer.
Emma McIntyre
Getty Images
Protesters at a #FreeBritney Rally outside the Los Angeles Courthouse today. A judge has cleared the pop star to choose her own lawyer.

Updated July 14, 2021 at 8:02 PM ET

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has cleared Britney Spears to hire her own lawyer in the long drawn-out battle over her conservatorship. And the pop star has chosen Mathew S. Rosengart, a prominent Hollywood lawyer and former federal prosecutor, to take up her case.

This was the outcome of a hearing on Wednesday in a Los Angeles courtroom, where the court had a long list of odds and ends to tie up after Spears' blistering public testimony in June, in which she described her life under the conservatorship.

The judge approved the resignation of Spears' longtime court-appointed lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham III, as well as the resignation of the wealth management company Bessemer Trust, which had previously signed on to be the co-conservator of Spears' estate. This leaves Spears' father, Jamie Spears, the sole conservator of her financial dealings.

Britney Spears, who joined the hearing by phone, reiterated to the court that she wants her father out of her conservatorship. She said that the arrangement "is allowing my dad to ruin my life" and said she is scared of him. Spears talked about feeling trapped and forcefully medicated, and she described an instance in which he showed up to her house drunk.

"I'm here to get rid of my dad and charge him with conservatorship abuse," she said.

A #FreeBritney supporter shows her support in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Rallies here held across the country in support of the pop star.
Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images
A #FreeBritney supporter shows her support in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Rallies were held across the U.S. in support of the pop star.

Spears' being allowed to choose her own lawyer is being hailed as a win by #FreeBritney activists and disability rights organizations. This likely marks the beginning of the full-force effort to end Spears' conservatorship. TMZ first reported last week that Spears had approached Rosengart, and he was in the courtroom Wednesday ready to hit the ground running, saying he will file a petition to remove Jamie Spears from the conservatorship.

But while the wheels may be in motion on getting him removed from the legal arrangement, Britney Spears has said that she wants the entire conservatorship to end only if it doesn't require a mental evaluation or test.

Spears' case has drawn attention from politicians too, with everyone from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, voicing their support for Spears. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., was at the rally outside the courtroom and spoke in front of #FreeBritney activists in support of the movement.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.
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