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Britney Spears' mom says pop star can care for herself, should pick her own lawyer

Lynne Spears filed the motion the same day her daughter's court-appointed counsel said he was resigning.
Image: #FreeBritney activists protest outside the courthouse in Los Angeles during a conservatorship hearing on April 27, 2021.
#FreeBritney activists protest outside the courthouse in Los Angeles during a conservatorship hearing April 27.Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images file

Attorneys for Britney Spears' mother, Lynne Spears, told a court this week that her daughter is well enough to take care of herself and should have permission to hire her own attorney to handle her conservatorship case.

The petition, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, called into question the claims that Britney Spears had a reduced capacity to handle her own affairs, the contention that has allowed the conservatorship to continue for so long.

The filing noted that Spears has performed multiple shows, produced multiple albums and gone on tour since her conservatorship began in 2008.

"Now, and for the past many years, Conservatee is able to care for her person and in fact has, inside of the parameters of this conservatorship, earned literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity. ... Her capacity is certainly different today than it was in 2008, and Conservatee should no longer be held to the 2008 standard, whereby she was found to 'not have the capacity to retain counsel,'" the motion said.

The motion asked the court to respect Spears' wishes to pick her own attorney, as Spears stated herself to the court on June 23. Spears testified that she had not been aware that she could petition to end the conservatorship, and she asked the court to give her more power in her case.

"This Motion to Appoint Private Counsel is of the utmost importance and may very well impact each and every of the other requests submitted by Conservatee in her live testimony at the June 23 Hearing," Lynne Spears' motion said.

Lynne Spears' motion was filed the same day that her daughter's court-appointed counsel, Samuel D. Ingham III, told the court that he would resign. Britney Spears testified that Ingham advised her against speaking out about her feelings regarding the 13-year conservatorship, which she described as abusive and isolating.

Jodi Montgomery, who was appointed as Spears' temporary conservator-of-the-person in September 2019, also filed a submission to the court Wednesday supporting Spears' right to hire her own counsel.

Montgomery proposed that the state appoint a temporary guardian ad litem, who would help Spears choose her own attorney, according to the filing.

The motion said Montgomery "believes that a Guardian ad Litem for this limited purpose is the only way to both honor [Britney Spears'] wish to select counsel without a medical evaluation and protect her interests."

Montgomery also said Spears has repeatedly and consistently asked for her help to hire a new attorney. Her filing included screenshots of what appear to be redacted text messages between her and Spears, although the contact at the top of the messages is referred to as "Jane Doe."

"Getting you a new attorney, by filing with the court is the best legal approach," one of Montgomery's messages said. "Your dad has excellent attorneys. and you should too."

A message purported to be from Spears read: "I need u to stay as my co conservator of person. I'm asking u for ur assistance in getting a new attorney."

Ingham's is the third resignation from Britney Spears' team in the last week. Her longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, sent a resignation letter to Spears' co-conservators Montgomery and James "Jamie" Spears, her father.

Attorneys for Jamie Spears declined to comment Wednesday.

Bessemer Trust, the financial and wealth management group appointed as a 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.

Bessemer said it entered into the conservatorship because it "relied on the representations of the parties that the ongoing Conservatorship was voluntary." But Bessemer said that it is now aware that Spears "objects to the continuance of her Conservatorship and desires to terminate the Conservatorship" and that it respects her wishes, the filing said.

Spears began the process to remove her father from her conservatorship last year, when Ingham said she was afraid of her father and would refuse to perform if he was in control of her guardianship. The court denied Spears' request but assigned Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator. Jamie Spears has repeatedly denied any allegations of abuse.