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A status hearing in Britney Spears' conservatorship case became heated Thursday (Feb. 11), with the singer’s lawyer reminding the court that Britney does not want her father Jamie to serve as her conservator.
The 30-minute hearing held in Los Angeles Superior Court centered on the management of the singer’s lucrative estate. Britney’s court-appointed attorney Samuel Ingham III told Judge Brenda Penny during the hearing that he wanted to ensure that the Bessemer Trust Company bank appointed in November to serve as the singer’s co-conservator of her estate had equal decision-making powers as Jamie Spears, the other co-conservator. Ingham previously argued in court papers that if the powers were not equal that he couldn’t imagine a “better recipe for conflict between the co-conservators and confusion with both BRITNEY and third parties” and that “the appointment of Bessemer Trust would be rendered meaningless.”
When Jamie Spears' attorney, Vivian Thoreen, reminded the court that it was Britney herself that wanted her father in charge saying that “Ms. Spears requested in court papers that she wanted her father to be the sole conservator of her estate,” Ingham denied that was the case.
“It is no secret that my client does not want her father as her conservator,” Ingham told the court.
Ingham also argued against a request by Jamie to retain power over his daughter’s trust to “delegate the sole responsibility of selecting, investing in and monitoring the particular investment vehicles for the conservatorship assets.” Ingham argued in court papers that that would give Jamie unrestricted power to select and compensate his own "professional investment advisors" separate and apart from Bessemer Trust.
“Mr. Spears should not retain authority to pull the plug and hand investments to someone else,” Ingham said in the court hearing. He also asked the court for a fee proposal from Bessemer “so that we can get a sense of the larger direction of where this conservatorship is going.”
Thoreen also told the judge that Ingham tried to insert himself into Britney’s trust proceedings, saying that “Ms. Spears requested and granted Mr. Spears [power] to assert her rights regarding the trust.” However, Ingham said under the law that he believes Spears can have a court-appointed guardian. He said he was taken aback by Thoreen’s comments that Spears was not allowed representation in her own trust proceedings.
“I was never told why there was an objection to this process,” Ingham told the court. “It appears to me that Ms. Thoreen is saying my client cannot have representation in her trust proceedings.”
Thoreen denied that Jamie was trying to stop Britney from having representation in trust matters.
“I am not saying on behalf of myself or my client that Ms. Spears cannot have representation in her trust proceedings.”
Ingham previously filed paperwork with the court that Spears' needs and wishes have changed since the conservatorship was placed over her in 2008. In August, Judge Penny ruled after a sealed hearing to extend Britney Spears' conservatorship until Feb. 1, 2021.
An accounting in Spears' case is set for March 17.
More eyes are on Spears' case than ever thanks to the Friday premiere of The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears, an FX documentary that focuses on the glaring media spotlight the pop star has endured for the last two decades and the #FreeBritney movement that has cropped up in protest of her ongoing conservatorship.
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