LOS ANGELES — Britney Spears' co-conservator Jodi Montgomery is getting more harassment and death threats after an explosive court appearance by Spears, who claimed years of abuse and trauma as a result of a legal arrangement that gives Montgomery and Spears' father control over her financial and personal dealings.
In legal documents filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Montgomery says there has been "a marked increase in the number and severity of threatening posts" against her, including threats of violence and even death, since Spears testified June 23.
Citing a hefty price tag, Montgomery asked that the conservatorship temporarily cover the costs of increased security measures, including 24-hour protection, until she can make "security improvements" at her residence and her office.
Each security agent assigned to Montgomery costs $65 an hour, with an estimated cost of $1,820 per 24-hour window, according to the filing. A two-week security detail would cost around $25,480.
Montgomery's attorney wrote in the filing that the price is prohibitive and that it is Montgomery's understanding that Spears' father, Jamie Spears, as conservator of the estate, "has no objection to the expense in and of itself, but just does not want to authorize it himself without prior court approval."
Jamie Spears filed a motion opposing Montgomery's request on Thursday, saying that although he is "aware of the increasing number of threatening communications and social media posts directed to various individuals involved in the Conservatorship," including Jamie Spears, Montgomery and their lawyers, he finds the cost of 24-hour security unreasonable.
"Mr. Spears does not believe such an expense is reasonable, necessary, or a proper expense of the Conservatorship Estate," the court filing reads in part.
A security detail has been assigned to Montgomery's home since June 30, when a Los Angeles judge signed an order denying Spears' request to have her father removed from the conservatorship, according to the filing. Every threatening message and post has been forwarded to a private security company responsible for keeping Montgomery safe.
Attorneys for Montgomery and Jamie Spears declined to comment.
A Los Angeles police spokesperson declined to comment about whether there are any open investigations into threats against members of Spears' conservatorship. The police department typically does not comment on threat investigations, the spokesperson said.
Spears' sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, also detailed increased harassment this week, pleading for people to "stop with the death threats" against her and her family.
"Hi, I respect that everyone has the right to express themselves," Jamie Lynn Spears, 30, an aspiring country singer, wrote in an Instagram story that has since disappeared. "But can we please stop with the death threats, especially the death threats to children."
Britney Spears' fans, who have repeatedly questioned the conservatorship, formed a #FreeBritney movement that picked up national attention in 2019. Members of the movement, which is described as a loose association of Spears fans who connect on social media, say true supporters would never threaten or harass the Spears family even if they do not agree with the conservatorship.
"I don't want to completely disregard if somebody really is sending death threats. That's terrible, and no one should be receiving those, but I don't see any on social media," said Sarah Khan, a longtime fan. "The general consensus is that the [conservatorship] is lying."
Social media influencer Josh Helfgott said it is "questionable" that people like Montgomery and Jamie Lynn Spears are alleging threats now, a week before Britney Spears is scheduled to appear in court again.
"It intentionally turns the story away from Britney and the abuse that she has been suffering for 13 years," he said. "It also changes who the bad guy is. It's saying the fans are the bad guy. We're not."
The long and winding legal battle started 13 years ago when Spears was first placed under a conservatorship.
Attorneys for Spears' mother, Lynne Spears, filed a motion Tuesday saying Spears was sound enough to take care of herself and should have permission to hire her own attorney to handle the conservatorship case. Montgomery filed a similar motion Wednesday saying Spears has repeatedly asked to choose her own counsel.
Spears' attorney filed a motion this week to resign as her counsel, almost two weeks after Spears testified that she wanted to choose her own attorney. The lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham III, who was appointed to Spears' case in 2008, said in documents filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court that he will resign as soon as a new counsel is selected.
Ingham's resignation was the third from Spears' team in the last week. Her longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, also sent a letter to Jamie Spears and Montgomery announcing his departure.
Bessemer Trust, the financial and wealth management group appointed as co-conservator in Spears' case, also filed a petition asking to resign. The motion, filed Thursday, cited Spears' testimony that she wanted to have control over her life again.
Montgomery, who was appointed as Spears' temporary conservator in September 2019, said Tuesday that she will not resign.
"She remains committed to steadfastly supporting Ms. Spears in every way she can within the scope of her duties as a conservator of the person," Montgomery's attorney, Lauriann Wright, said in a statement. "Ms. Spears as recently as yesterday has asked Ms. Montgomery to continue to serve. Ms. Montgomery will continue to serve as a conservator for as long as Ms. Spears and the Court desire her to do so."