In a surprise move, Britney Spears’ father threw his support Tuesday behind the movement to end the conservatorship that has controlled his daughter’s life for 13 years.
In court papers first reviewed by NBC News and later obtained by multiple media outlets, Jamie Spears’ attorney said recent events “have called into question whether circumstances have changed to such an extent that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship may no longer exist.”
News of the court papers came as a surprise. Jamie Spears has been the conservator of his daughter’s estate for 13 years, and he previously resisted all efforts to have him suspended or removed from the post. Following his daughter’s recent emotional court testimony accusing him and others connected with the conservatorship with abusive treatment — and Britney Spears’ hiring of a new lawyer — Jamie Spears recently relented to eventually stepping down as conservator after a sufficient transition period.
But he has insisted there is no basis for his removal as conservator. He has also maintained that all of his actions as conservator were done with Britney Spears’ best interests in mind.
Jamie Spears’ attorney, Vivian Thoreen, repeated that assessment in the new court documents, which were not yet publicly accessible in the Los Angeles Superior Court system by late Tuesday afternoon.
“As Mr. Spears has said again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the court papers state, according to various media outlets. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.”
The filing comes just weeks before a Sept. 29 court hearing, at which Judge Brenda Penny is expected to consider a request by Britney Spears’ lawyer for the singer’s father to be suspended or replaced as conservator of the singer’s estate.
In court papers, attorney Mathew Rosengart accused Jamie Spears of trying to “extort” about $2 million from the pop star before he agrees to step down as conservator of her estate.
“The status quo is no longer tolerable, and Britney Spears will not be extorted,” according to Rosengart’s court papers. “Mr. Spears’ blatant attempt to barter suspension and removal in exchange for approximately $2 million in payments, on top of the millions already reaped from Ms. Spears’ estate by Mr. Spears and his associates, is a non-starter.”
Jamie Spears’ attorneys have said he plans to remain as conservator pending the completion of a final financial reporting of his daughter’s estate. His court documents included an extensive defense of Jamie Spears’ work as conservator, insisting he brought the estate out of extensive debt and raised its value to “well over $60 million.”
The singer vociferously called for her father’s removal as conservator during an emotional June court hearing, during which she also called for an end to the 13-year conservatorship. Rosengart filed court papers in late July requesting that Jamie Spears be replaced by Woodland Hills accountant Jason Rubin.