Britney Spears' plea to end her conservatorship during a rare testimony Wednesday could help lift some of the restrictions she is placed under — but legal experts say it will be an uphill battle to end the court arrangement entirely.
Legal experts and conservatorship lawyers told NBC News on Thursday that while her testimony was a powerful statement against her father, who has been her conservator since 2008, the singer would need to prove that she was capable of making her own decisions and that the conservatorship was no longer necessary.
"This is probably the most unique conservatorship case ever," MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos said. "The judge will not terminate this conservatorship lightly or without ample evidence."
In her 20-minute testimony, the singer said that she was “traumatized” by the people who have controlled her life for 13 years, alleging that she was overworked without any breaks, medicated with lithium and prohibited from having more children after her conservators did not allow her to remove her birth control device — all of which were approved by her father, James "Jamie" Spears.
Spears was inundated with support from actors, singers and media personalities after her testimony. Scrutiny of her case has been heightened in the wake of "Framing Britney Spears," a documentary about her conservatorship released in February, helping to fuel the #FreeBritney movement on social media.
At Wednesday's hearing, an attorney for Jamie Spears made a brief statement, saying: "Mr. Spears is sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain. Mr. Spears loves his daughter and her sister very much."
He declined to comment after Wednesday's hearing, but her father and his team have vehemently denied abuse allegations, repeatedly stating that he only has his daughter’s best interests at heart.
Before the judge makes a decision, legal experts said Spears must file a formal petition to end the conservatorship, which has not yet been submitted to the court. Once filed, a court-appointed investigator will speak with everyone involved in the court-ordered arrangement, including the singer and her father, they said.
“It’s very unusual to end a conservatorship precisely because people in conservatorships don’t get better,” legal analyst Lisa Green told the “TODAY” show Thursday. “While Britney would wish the judge could wave a magic wand and end this, what’s going to happen is that it will start a whole new proceeding, and the judge will hear from Britney, and her friends and relatives can speak.”
“But the conservators, including her father, may not agree with her,” Green said.
A substantial amount of evidence, including medical evaluations, would also be needed to prove that the conservatorship was no longer necessary — a procedure that Spears requested in her testimony to forgo, alleging that her father has previously subjected her to numerous health evaluations.
The most realistic scenario is that the conservatorship remains, her father is removed and the conditions under the court arrangement will loosen, according to Tamar Arminak, a lawyer who worked with the actor Amanda Bynes’ parents in her 2014 conservatorship case.
“Britney has said in this case that the father is doing more harm than good, but there are reasons that she’s still under the conservatorship,” Arminak said.
“We don’t have access to all the evidence that the judge saw in 2008," Green said. "We have a partial glimpse of what Britney’s life has been like."
"It seems tragic, but there’s a larger story that we may never see," she said.
During her testimony, Spears added that she wanted "to be heard" and that the "laws need to change."
In her closing remarks, she said: “I feel ganged up on, bullied, left out and alone. And I'm tired of feeling alone. I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family, any of those things and more so.”