Britney Spears's conservators are at odds over the treatment of the pop star — and Judge Brenda Penny ensured Jamie Spears isn't going anywhere at the moment.
In documents obtained by Variety, the judge denied Britney's request to remove her father as sole conservator of her estate without prejudice. While the singer's court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham III, filed papers in November 2020, the ruling is noteworthy given Judge Penny signed the document on Wednesday — one week after Britney's shocking plea to the court, calling the conservatorship "abusive."
The filing states that the court found Britney to be "substantially unable to manage his or her financial resources or to resist fraud or undue influence." The singer's attorney claimed in documents his client was "afraid of her father" and would refuse to perform again if remained in control of her estate.
Jamie made his stance clear on co-conservator, Jodi Montgomery, in his own documents filed on Tuesday.
Following last week's explosive hearing, Britney's father filed papers blaming Jodi Montgomery for most of the singer's issues: like not being able to make her own reproductive choices. In a new statement, Montgomery says she has been a "tireless advocate" for Britney over the past two years and hopes to create "a path for termination of the conservatorship."
Britney is under a conservatorship of both the estate and person. Her father controls all financial decisions as conservator of the estate, while Montgomery is in charge the superstar's medical and personal choices. In March, Britney's court-appointed lawyer filed paperwork asking the court to select Montgomery as the singer's permanent conservator. However, the "Slave 4 U" singer made it clear she's unhappy with both parties, telling the court she wants her "life back."
"My dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship and my management who played a huge role in punishing me ... they should be in jail," Spears emotionally told the judge last Wednesday. "I'm talking to you today because I feel again, even Jodi is starting to kind of take it too far with me."
Montgomery's attorney says, "If Britney wants any issue" brought to the court, "Ms. Montgomery is and has always been ready, willing, and able to do so."
"If Britney wants any issue brought up to the Court, Ms. Montgomery is and has always been ready, willing, and able to do so," Lauriann Wright of Wright Kim Douglas, ALC, tells Yahoo Entertainment. "From the very beginning of her appointment in September 2019, Ms. Montgomery and the medical team that she assembled have had one primary goal — to assist and encourage Britney in her path to no longer needing a conservatorship of the person."
Related video: Britney Spears's conservatorship explained
Montgomery's attorney adds, "Britney's choice to marry and to start a family have never been impacted by the conservatorship while Ms. Montgomery has been conservator of the person."
In Jamie's court filing, he said he's "concerned" for his daughter and called out both Montgomery and Britney's lawyer. Lawyers for the elder Spears say he's "greatly saddened to hear of his daughter's difficulties and suffering, and he believes that there must be an investigation into those claims." Jamie claims he's been cut off from communicating with Britney and "is simply not involved in any decisions related to Ms. Spears's personal care of medical or reproductive issues" as Montgomery is "fully in charge" of her "day-to-day" care.
However, Montgomery's statement insinuates many of Britney's issues do ultimately fall back on Jamie. Read the statement in full below:
The conservatorship of the person for Britney Spears includes multiple layers of protection for Britney, including the Court, the court investigator which regularly updates the Court, her medical team, and my client, Jodi Montgomery. In fact, conservatorships in California are subject to the strictest laws in the nation to protect against any potential abuses, including a licensing requirement for all professional fiduciaries. Ms. Montgomery is a licensed private professional fiduciary who, unlike family members who serve as conservators, is required to follow a Code of Ethics which can be found here. More information about California private professional fiduciaries can be found here. Private professional fiduciaries often serve in cases as a neutral decision-maker when there are complex family dynamics, as in this case. As counsel, my firm and I serve as the liaison between Ms. Montgomery in her role as Conservator, and the Court, ensuring absolute compliance with the legal requirements of the Conservatorship.
I can state unequivocally that Jodi Montgomery has been a tireless advocate for Britney and for her well-being. While she does not control Britney’s financial assets, she is responsible for her personal care, and if Britney wants any issue brought up to the Court, Ms. Montgomery is and has always been ready, willing, and able to do so. From the very beginning of her appointment in September 2019, Ms. Montgomery and the medical team that she assembled have had one primary goal – to assist and encourage Britney in her path to no longer needing a conservatorship of the person.
As to Britney’s right to marry, that is unaffected by the conservatorship under Probate Code §1900. As to family planning, that is also unaffected by the conservatorship. If Britney needs any assistance with either, Ms. Montgomery has and will be there to provide any assistance needed to Britney. Britney’s choice to marry and to start a family have never been impacted by the conservatorship while Ms. Montgomery has been conservator of the person.
Since being appointed in September 2019, Ms. Montgomery has tirelessly acted in Britney’s best interests with the approval of her doctors and the oversight of the Court. All of Ms. Montgomery’s fees and costs are approved by the Court, as required by law, after petitions setting forth her fees and costs in detail are filed with the Court in the public record. To protect Britney’s medical privacy, portions of the time records contained in those petitions do have to be sealed.
Because Ms. Montgomery does not have any power or authority over the conservatorship of the estate, every expenditure made by Ms. Montgomery for Britney has had to be first approved by Jamie Spears as the conservator of the estate. Some expenses are pre-approved, but if new services or an increase in existing services is sought, Mr. Spears has to approve that expenditure. Practically speaking, since everything costs money, no expenditures can happen without going through Mr. Spears and Mr. Spears approving them. Ms. Montgomery has advocated on Britney’s behalf for any expenditures that Britney has requested as well as for expenditures recommended by Britney’s medical team. Not every requested expenditure has been approved. Jamie Spears, as conservator of the estate, has a duty to make decisions in the best interests of the estate, and sometimes that has meant requested expenditures have been denied or limited.
Ms. Montgomery’s tenure as conservator of the person beginning in September 2019 has been complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Britney lives in the Southern California area, who has suffered some of the highest Covid rates in the country. California’s state of emergency due to the pandemic started on March 4, 2020, with many restrictions not being lifted in the Los Angeles area until just weeks ago. Britney is someone who was at an increased risk of severe illness due to preexisting conditions. A well-renowned epidemiologist was brought onto the medical team and that doctor’s advice was followed to ensure Britney’s safety from exposure to the virus at all times.
While it is Ms. Montgomery’s professional duty to be Britney’s protector and advocate, honoring her wishes and seeing to her best interests while Britney is under conservatorship, it is her sincere personal wish that Britney continues to make meaningful progress in her well-being so that her conservatorship of the person can be terminated. Ms. Montgomery looks forward to presenting a comprehensive Care Plan to the Court setting forth a path for termination of the conservatorship for Britney, and Ms. Montgomery looks forward to supporting Britney through that process.
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