(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A supporter holds a fan while rallying for pop star Britney Spears during a conservatorship case hearing at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 17, 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday set a November date for a hearing about whether to terminate the controversial conservatorship that has controlled the personal and business affairs of pop star Britney Spears for 13 years.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny also suspended the singer’s father Jamie Spears from his long oversight of his daughter’s $60 million estate.
“The current situation is not tenable. It reflects a toxic environment which requires the suspension of Jamie Spears, effective today,” Penny said during a contentious three-hour hearing. She scheduled the hearing on Nov. 12.
The decisions marked a huge victory for the “Circus” singer, now 39, who has been struggling for years to get free of the legal arrangement. She did not take part in Wednesday’s hearing but was represented by her attorney, Mathew Rosengart
Jamie Spears will be replaced by an accountant, John Zabel, on a temporary basis, Penny said.
#FreeBritney fans who gathered outside the court in Los Angeles erupted in cheers as the judge’s ruling was conveyed. Pop singer Cher tweeted, “I’m more than thrilled 4 her. Bless our super star.”
Jamie Spears had been in charge of his daughter’s business affairs since 2008, when he put in place a wide-ranging, court-approved conservatorship after she suffered a mental breakdown. The details of her mental health have never been revealed.
The singer’s father made a surprise request earlier in September for her conservatorship to end but argued that he should remain in his role to smooth the transition.
Rosengart, however, demanded that he be suspended immediately, saying his presence in such a key role was harmful to his daughter’s well being.
A New York Times documentary released last week alleged that the singer’s phone and bedroom were bugged by security staff working for her father. Conversations with friends, her children and her previous lawyer were monitored, a former security staffer said.
Jamie Spears has said his actions were within his authority as conservator.
Spears stepped up her efforts in June to break free of the conservatorship, telling the judge in her first public comments that she found it abusive and humiliating.
Public support for her has since swelled, and some restrictions Spears complained about have been loosened. She gained the freedom to drive her own car.
Two weeks ago she announced her engagement to Sam Asghari, 27, her personal trainer boyfriend of more than four years. The pair hope to marry soon after negotiating a pre-nuptial agreement.
Britney Spears gets November hearing on ending conservatorship, judge suspends dad
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