LOS ANGELES — Pop star Britney Spears's bid to remove her father, James Spears, from the conservatorship of her estate has suffered a temporary setback with a Los Angeles court declining the application.
James Spears has been her co-conservator since 2008, when the singer suffered a very public breakdown. He became sole conservator in 2019 after attorney Andrew Wallet resigned from his co-conservatorship.
In a hearing on Tuesday, Los Angeles superior court judge Brenda Penny declined to suspend James Spears from his conservatorship, though she did not rule out future petitions for his removal or suspension.
"My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father," Britney Spears' attorney Samuel D. Ingham III told the judge. "She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career."
Meanwhile, financial company Bessemer Trust has been appointed as a co-conservator.
James Spears' attorney Vivian Thoreen argued that under her client's conservatorship, Britney Spears' net worth has come out of debt to reach $60 million.
The move takes place amid the ongoing #FreeBritney campaign, which claims that the singer is being controlled by James against her will. The most recent development, last month, allows Britney to expand her legal team.
He took on the role in the wake of Britney's very public mental breakdown in 2007. More recently, acting conservator Jodi Montgomery stepped in to assist Spears. James has since criticized the #FreeBritney movement, likening its supporters to conspiracy theorists.
The singer reportedly requested that he be removed from the role earlier this year, but his conservator was subsequently extended until February 2021.
In September, the singer's father also withdrew his attempt to rehire estate manager Andrew Wallet, who Spears said was "uniquely unsuited" in his first stint working for her.
Wallet worked from 2008 to 2019 in a co-conservator capacity, but Britney said she had "difficult budgetary choices going forward" and could not afford his services.
Wallet subsequently claimed that the star could be under her conservatorship for the rest of her life.