LOS ANGELES — Britney Spears’ father has hired an experienced attorney following expectations that lawyers for the singer will scrutinize his role as conservator over the last 13 years.
James “Jamie” Spears has hired Alex Weingarten, a partner in the litigation department at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, to represent him in his daughter’s conservatorship battle, according to a filing Tuesday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Jamie Spears was suspended as his daughter’s conservator last month after her attorney accused him of financial mismanagement.
The filing alerts the court that Weingarten will replace Jamie Spears' previous attorney, Vivian Thoreen.
Weingarten was not immediately available for a request for comment from NBC News. Thoreen declined to comment.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny approved accountant John Zabel as Britney Spears’ temporary conservator-of-the-estate and will rule whether to formally remove Jamie Spears in November. She may also rule on whether to terminate the conservatorship altogether at that time.
The decision to add Weingarten to Jamie Spears’ team comes after statements from Britney Spears’ attorney, Mathew Rosengart, about possibly deposing Jame Spears. Rosengart has alleged that Spears profited off his daughter’s conservatorship and said that his firm intends to investigate alleged financial mismanagement.
If Rosengart files a lawsuit against Jamie Spears over fraud allegations during his role as the singer's fiduciary, it could require years of litigation, legal experts have told NBC News.
Jamie Spears has denied allegations of misconduct while serving as his daughter’s conservator, saying he has only acted in Britney Spears’ best interest. The court has approved Jamie Spears' salary as conservator through accounting requests, and in filings he has attested that he continues “to perform services to protect and administer Ms. Spears’ estate in good faith and in her best interests.”
He has been “biting his tongue and not responding to all the false, speculative, and unsubstantiated attacks on him,” Thoreen said last month following the suspension.
"Respectfully, the court was wrong to suspend Mr. Spears, put a stranger in his place to manage Britney’s estate, and extend the very conservatorship that Britney begged the court to terminate earlier this summer,” Thoreen said.
The court still has pending motions regarding fees in Britney Spears’ conservatorship, including an accounting filed by her father’s team in August 2020. Rosengart has raised objections over some of the fees, including about $540,000 for "media matters."
A hearing to review accounting and fees has been scheduled for Dec. 8. Conservatorship lawyers previously told NBC News that it's possible the court may retain the jurisdiction over accounting disputes even if Penny decides to terminate the conservatorship next month.
Rosengart said in September he anticipates the conservatorship will be terminated at the next hearing on Nov. 12.
Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles, and Doha Madani from New York.