the law

Britney Spears’s Mom Asks Judge to Let Her Daughter Choose Her New Lawyer

Lynne Spears. Photo: Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Update, July 8: Britney Spears’s father, Jamie Spears, asked the court on Thursday to deny co-conservator Jodi Montgomery’s request for 24/7 live security services for herself at a cost of over $50k a month.

“Mr. Spears does not believe such an expense is reasonable, necessary, or a proper expense for the Conservatorship Estate,” the filing states.

Montgomery hasn’t been the only person involved in the conservatorship receiving death threats, according to Jamie’s court filing; Ingham and Jamie have both received similar threatening voicemail messages. Jamie said that he has been the subject of “innumerable and ongoing threats” of violence and death for years and does not think security expenses for Montgomery are something Britney’s estate should be on the hook to pay for.

Original story:

Britney Spears’s mother, Lynne Spears, and her personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, have filed dueling court petitions asking Judge Brenda Penny, who is overseeing the singer’s conservatorship case, to allow Britney to retain her own private attorney. While they both want the court to allow Britney to hire her own attorney, they differ on how that process should take place.

Lynne is asking the court to immediately grant her daughter the authority to hire her own attorney, according to her petition filed July 6 in Los Angeles Superior Court. Lynne’s legal team commended Britney for her “impassioned plea to be heard “ and asked that her daughter’s wishes to hire her own attorney to be respected. “Appointment of independent counsel is mandatory at this juncture,” Lynne’s court papers state.

Lynne’s legal team said the fact that Britney didn’t even know that she could petition the court to end her conservatorship is more than enough evidence that she immediately needs a private attorney to “advise her as to her basic rights in this conservatorship.”

They also pointed out that a lot has changed in the 13 years that Britney has been under the care of a conservatorship. Now, they said, “[Britney] can care for her person” and has earned “literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity,” according to Lynne’s petition.

“To earn this money, [Britney]  has had to perform in front of millions of people, has had to manage hundreds of performances, has had to use her artistic and creative talents to prepare for shows by choreographing each and every move for and interacting with many co-performers, and has had to rehearse and perform for many thousands of hours over the years,” according to Lynne’s filing with the court. “Her capacity is certainly different today than it was in 2008, and [Britney] should no longer be held to the 2008 standard, whereby she was found to ‘not have the capacity to retain counsel.”

Lynne’s request will be one of the multitude of decisions Judge Penny will make on July 14, the date of Britney conservatorship ’s next hearing. Penny will also decide then whether to approve resignations from Britney’s current court appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham, and from Bessemer Trust, the financial institution appointed to serve as co-conservator of Britney’s estate.

Earlier on July 7, the same day that Lynne filed her request, Jodi Montgomery, Britney’s current personal co-conservator, asked the court to hold an emergency hearing on July 8 to address Britney’s desire to hire her own attorney. According to Montgomery, Britney has been repeatedly asking her to help her find an attorney, but Montgomery believes that the request is out of her area of expertise.

Montgomery is urging Judge Penny to consider, instead of picking and appointing Britney’s next attorney from the approved pool of attorneys on the court’s panel, to appoint a guardian ad litem with the sole purpose of helping Britney find a new private attorney. She states that Britney “wants to select her own attorney, doesn’t want one appointed solely by the court and does not want to undergo any additional evaluations to determine her capacity.”

Montgomery’s court papers filed in Los Angeles Superior court state that Britney herself has “has been repeatedly and consistently requesting” Montgomery to help her in finding a new attorney. “[Britney] believes it is urgent and important for her.”

“While Ms. Montgomery is always driven to help Ms. Spears in whatever way she can, there is no question that Ms. Montgomery’s input on Ms. Spears’ counsel is beyond her powers as the Conservator of the Person and is inappropriate in light of Ms. Spears’ recent criticisms of her conservatorship,” stated Mongomery’s attorney Lauriann Wright in the court filing. “Nonetheless, Ms. Montgomery has heard her words and wants to honor her wishes.”

Montgomery included screengrabs of her text message conversations with Britney, who appears to be identified on her phone as only “Jane Doe.” A substantial portion of the messages between them are blacked out and redacted. In one, Montgomery wrote to Spears that “in order for me to stay and help support you, I must be sure to stay in my lane. Getting you a new attorney, by filing with the court is the best legal approach. Your dad has excellent attorneys, and you should to…”

Britney wrote back: “I know but I want (this portion is redacted) AND a get a new lawyer I can do BOTH.”

Montgomery assured her that “Your new lawyer will do that.” Britney also told Montgomery, “I need u to stay as my co conservator of person. I’m asking u for ur assistance in getting a new attorney.”

When Montgomery told Spears that she “must have your own representation, and we will clear the way in court…” Britney responded to her saying, “it’s not cool though ur not giving me names Jody … I don’t have representation though.”

Montgomery also asked the court to approve an uptick in Britney’s security. She said that since Britney’s explosive testimony Montgomery has been receiving an “elevated level of threatening messages.” Britney has asked the court to approve live 24/7 security for her: “There are grave concerns regarding the safety of the Conservator of the Person and counsel involved in this highly-publicized matter arising from a drastic increase in threats of violence and death since the June 23, 2021 unsealed status hearing.”

Lynne Spears Asks Judge to Let Britney Choose New Lawyer