Britney Spears poses at the premiere of “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” in Los Angeles, California, July 22, 2019.
Mario Anzuoni | Reuters
Britney Spears is permitted to hire her own lawyer, the judge overseeing the singer’s guardianship ruled Wednesday.
The news comes three weeks after Spears denounced the conservatorship that has long controlled her finances and personal life.
Wednesday’s court hearing addressed the resignation of Spear’s court-appointed attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, who has handled the celebrity’s case since 2008. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny approved Ingham’s departure and Spear’s chosen replacement Mathew Rosengart.
Rosengart is a prominent Hollywood lawyer and a former federal prosecutor. It is expected that he will be more aggressive in pushing for Spear’s 13-year conservatorship to end.
Loeb & Loeb, a law firm that Ingham had recently brought on to assist him also submitted a resignation letter that was accepted by the judge.
Last month, Spears asked the court to choose her own counsel, asserting that she had not been made aware of her right to terminate her conservatorship by Ingham. The pop star said she wants to end the guardianship and regain her independence, including having say in her medical care.
In seeking to remove the conservatorship, Spears has levied claims of abuse against her father James Spears, alleging he has used the arrangement for personal gain. James Spears has publicly denied these accusations.
When James Spears encountered health issues in 2019, Jodi Montgomery, a licensed private fiduciary, was appointed in a temporary role within the conservatorship. Montgomery is reportedly onboard with Spears’ desire to remove the guardianship and is well-liked by the singer.
Last year, Spears began the process to remove her father from her conservatorship, but her request was denied by the court. Instead, Bessemer Trust, a financial and wealth management group, was added as a co-conservator.
Bessemer Trust has since requested to resign from the position, saying it wasn’t aware that Spears wished to terminate the conservatorship and that it no longer wanted to be involved.
Court records currently estimate Spears’ fortune to be at around $50 million. Her father and his attorneys suggest that that money remains vulnerable to fraud and manipulation. Spears and her new lawyer will have to prove to the court that she is competent to be released and make her own financial decisions.