Britney Spears is objecting to her mother’s request to pay $663,202.84 in attorney’s fees, in conjunction with her conservatorship.
The objection marks the latest move in the pop star’s ongoing and drawn-out legal battle. The singer’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart, filed new court documents ahead of a Wednesday hearing — where no decision was made — asking a judge to deny Lynne Spears’ petition for her famous daughter to foot her hefty legal bills.
More from Variety
“Britney Spears has for decades been her family’s sole breadwinner, supporting her entire family,” Rosengart stated in a filing on Tuesday with the Los Angeles Superior Court.
“Lynne Spears and her counsel seek payment of legal fees and costs — from Britney Spears — of more than $660,000,” Rosengart’s filing states, arguing that there is “no legal authority” supporting the singer’s mother’s request, since she was not an official party involved with the conservatorship. “Britney Spears opposes the Petition in its entirety.”
Attorneys for Lynne Spears filed their petition on Nov. 1, 2021, requesting for legal fees to be paid by Spears, whose conservatorship was terminated on Nov. 12, 2021 after more than 13 years.
At Wednesday’s hearing, attorneys for Lynne Spears argued what they had stated in their November filing: That the pop star’s life under the conservatorship began to change for the better a few years ago because of her mother’s efforts with her lawyers.
At the time, the singer denied that her mother was a positive force behind the scenes. “My dad may have started the conservatorship 13 years ago, but what people don’t know is that my mom is the one who gave him the idea,” Spears posted on her Instagram last November, after her mother requested her legal fees be covered by her daughter.
Rosengart’s filing this week states that his client supported her entire family for years, taking aim at her father, Jamie Spears, writing in the court docs that he “had a long history of financial mismanagement prior to the conservatorship — including tax liens, mortgage defaults, failed business ventures, and a Chapter 7 bankruptcy” and that he “enriched himself as conservator, receiving more than $6 million from Britney Spears’s estate in compensation, ‘fees and commissions,’ profiting handsomely from her very hard work (even though he was a fiduciary, not her legal, management, or talent representative).”
Rosengart writes that Spears’ father’s “financial condition was so dire in 2008″ that he borrowed “at least $40,000” from the star’s eventual business manager, Tri Star Sports & Entertainment, which he ended up hiring to oversee his daughter’s financial affairs, around the same time that he placed her under a conservatorship. The singer’s attorney also claims that Jamie Spears “sent her on a lengthy and grueling 97-show international tour and onto other work, from which he obtained millions.” (In June, Spears testified, through tears, that she was forced to work and go on tour when she was under the conservatorship.)
Rosengart writes that Spears’ mother and father are not at equal fault, but notes that the singer has paid for her mother’s home and related expenses.
“Lynne Spears has for at least a decade resided in a large, expensive house owned by Britney Spears in Kentwood, La., for which her daughter has also continuously — and generously — paid Lynne Spears’s utilities, telephone services, insurance, property taxes, landscaping, pool work, pest control, repairs and maintenance, totaling approximately $1.7 million,” the filing states.
Spears was first placed under her 13-year conservatorship in 2008 by her father, Jamie Spears, who oversaw the court-ordered legal arrangement for its entirety before being suspended by a judge in September 2021, less than two months before the conservatorship was ultimately terminated. There was little-to-no movement in Spears’ case until she testified in June 2021, telling the court she had been a victim of conservatorship abuse and had been trying to get out from her father’s control for years. After her testimony, she was granted the ability to bring on her own counsel, which is when she hired Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor and high-powered Hollywood attorney. It was then that things began to swiftly change with the tables turning for Spears.
In her November 2021 filing, Spears’ mother requested her legal fees be covered because she and her attorneys helped her daughter through a “crisis” and got “involved to help Britney free herself from what she saw as a very controlling existence.” Her attorneys stated they were retained to “help Britney achieve independence from her conservator father James Spears.”
On Wednesday, the judge made no decision regarding Lynne Spears’ legal fees. The next hearings are set for July, expected to deal with a matter of issues, in addition to the mother’s attorneys fees.
Also still up in the air is the ongoing and contentious court proceedings between the pop star and her father regarding his legal fees, accusations of eavesdropping and other alleged improper behavior. Despite his suspension and the conservatorship being terminated, the elder Spears previously asked the court to have his daughter continue paying his legal fees, which Rosengart called an “abomination.” Additionally, Rosengart has accused Tri Star of “stonewalling” his attempts to obtain information for his client and quashing subpoenas served by the star’s legal team.
Best of Variety