Britney Spears loses court fight to remove father's control over her estate

11 November 2020, 07:51

Britney Spears has lost a legal battle to remove her father's control over her estate
Britney Spears has lost a legal battle to remove her father's control over her estate. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Britney Spears has lost a US court fight to remove her father as the financial guardian of her estate.

The pop star told a judge in Los Angeles that she is "afraid" of her father and that she would she will never perform again while he is the conservator of her assets.

Jamie Spears has been the 38-year-old's legal conservator for 12 years following a public breakdown which blighted the musician's career.

Her father's lawyer argued Mr Spears had always acted in the best interest of his daughter, adding that when he became conservator the estate was the subject of tens of millions of dollars of lawsuits.

However, the judge said she would consider future appeals for his dismissal or outright removal and allowed financial company Bessemer Trust to be appointed as a co-conservator.

During the hearing on Tuesday Samuel D Ingham, representing Ms Spears, told the court the singer has a fraught relationship with her father and that the pair have no "viable working relationship".

He added that they have not spoken in a "long while".

Gladstone Jones, representing Spears' mother, Lynne, said she agreed that Jamie should be suspended from his role as her financial guardian.

Vivian Thoreen, representing Mr Spears, dismissed the lawyers' testimony as hearsay and said the reason why he had not spoken to his daughter was because of Mr Ingham asking him not to do so.

The court was told that since taking over her financial affairs, Ms Spears' estate is now worth $60 million (£45 million).

Ms Thoreen said it would be an "extraordinary" move to suspend him from his role after the court heard the pop star wanted Bessemer Trust appointed as "sole conservator".

Fans of Britney Spears protested outside the Los Angeles court on Tuesday
Fans of Britney Spears protested outside the Los Angeles court on Tuesday. Picture: PA

Sitting at Stanley Mosk Courthouse for a largely virtual hearing, Judge Brenda Penny made Bessemer Trust co-conservator of the case but did not suspend Jamie from his role, saying she would hear that part of the case at a later date.

The hearing took place against the backdrop of the #FreeBritney movement, an organisation of fans who believe Ms Spears is being kept prisoner against her will.

Some in the movement say she sends coded messages through her social media accounts, while fans holding "Free Britney" signs marched outside the court building.

The judge started the hearing by warning those in attendance not to make any noise or gestures, saying they would be removed from the courtroom.

Spears acknowledged the #FreeBritney movement in recent court papers, saying she "welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans".

The pop star, who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, has not performed live since October 2018. She cancelled a much-anticipated Las Vegas residency in early 2019.

Spears has two sons, Preston, 15, and Jayden, 14, with ex-husband Kevin Federline.