Judge Brenda Penny granted a petition from Britney Spears today (Sep. 29, 2021), freeing her from his oversight leading her estate for the first time since 2008, with her father being removed as her conservator.
Certified public accountant John Zabel has been appointed as temporary conservator of her estate.
Wednesday’s hearing in Los Angeles was the first in the conservatorship case heard since July. Both Spears and her father Jamie Spears had petitioned to end his role in the conservatorship, and the judge was expected to hear arguments over whether Jamie Spears should be removed or if the conservatorship should be ended entirely.
“It’s simple, it’s logical, it’s fair and it’s just,” Britney Spears’ primary lawyer Matthew Rosengart said about the suspension of the elder Spears during the hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court downtown. “She doesn’t want a settlement with her father, she doesn’t want mediation with her father, she doesn’t want delay,” the formal federal prosecutor told Penny this afternoon.
“The current situation is not tenable,” Penny said regarding the relationship between the pop singer and her estranged father.
Wednesday’s hearing was not publicly available to stream after audio of Britney Spears’ testimony from June 23 was leaked online, despite the judge’s orders against making an audio recording. Britney did not appear at Wednesday’s hearing.
Jamie Spears back in August told the court he would be willing to relinquish the 13-year-old conservatorship given the proper time and steps and had requested several payouts and compensation totaling $2 million from Britney for various matters, including carrying out the basic duties the conservatorship he established required of him — like handling media attention and “doing my best to keep current” in the music and media business. Jamie also requested Britney pay some of his attorney’s fees.
Britney and her lawyer Matthew Rosengart rejected that proposal as a “non-starter” and since then has been pressing to remove Jamie from the conservatorship altogether, and in September Jamie filed his own petition to dissolve the conservatorship, saying that his daughter “wants to live her life as she chooses without the constraints of a conservator or court proceeding.“
Spears has been under conservatorship and her finances and personal life controlled for the past 13 years, all of which has come under scrutiny in recent months with a flurry of developments, pleas from the pop star herself and a string of documentaries about the case and the #FreeBritney movement.