LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In a major victory for Britney Spears, a Los Angeles judge has approved the singer’s request to hire her own attorney in her bid to end the conservatorship under which she’s been living for 13 years. Spears has been represented by a court-appointed attorney throughout the conservatorship.
Britney Spears thanked her fans on Instagram after the ruling Wednesday, adding that she was celebrating by horseback riding and doing cartwheels.
The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny comes following the resignation of Spears’ longtime court-appointed counsel, Samuel D. Ingham III.
Spears Wednesday spoke to the court via telephone, the second time she has done so in the past month, again lashing out at her father, Jamie Spears, who is the conservator of his daughter’s estate. Spears has repeatedly asked for his removal from the conservatorship, and on Wednesday accused him of “abuse.”
With Penny’s blessing, Spears will now be represented by former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart.
Rosengart, 58, is a partner at the law firm Greenberg Traurig. He once served as a law clerk for then-New Hampshire state judge David Souter shortly before Souter was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. After leaving the Justice Department, Rosengart worked as a civil litigator, and his clients have included Hollywood personalities Sean Penn, Steven Spielberg and Kenneth Lonergan.
Spears’ mother, Lynne, recently filed paperwork in support of her daughter’s request to hire her own attorney. With Ingham and the L.A. law firm of Loeb & Loeb both submitting papers seeking to resign as Spears’ attorneys, the court would ordinarily appoint another one to represent the singer.
Meanwhile, Spears’ personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, claims in court papers that since the singer appeared in court on June 23 and lashed out at the conservatorship and most of the people involved with it, Montgomery has seen a “marked increase” in threats directed at her on social media and through text messages, phone calls and emails.
Spears supporters, part of the #FreeBritney movement, held a rally outside the courthouse Wednesday afternoon.
— Tina Patel (@tina_patel) July 14, 2021
Spears has been under conservatorship since 2008. In explosive virtual testimony on June 23, the 39-year-old lashed out at everyone involved in her conservatorship, accusing them of abusive treatment, forcing her to perform against her will and requiring her to take medications she did not want and undergo intensive therapy sessions.
Ingham III, who has represented her for the 13-year duration of her conservatorship, filed paperwork last week announcing his intention to resign once a replacement is selected.
The ACLU joined with more than two dozen organizations to file an amicus brief Tuesday demanding that Spears be allowed to choose her own attorney in the case. Spears’ mother, Lynne Spears, also recently filed paperwork to the same effect.
In response to Spears’ testimony, a financial management company that had recently come on as a co-conservator for Spears’ estate also asked the court to end its role.
Spears’ longtime manager Larry Rudolph also resigned last week. Rudolph said that he and Spears have not communicated for 2 ½ years.
Jamie Spears filed court papers recently asking the court to investigate his daughter’s allegations of abusive treatment by those involved in the conservatorship “to determine what corrective actions, if any, need to be taken.”
Spears called for an end to the conservatorship when she testified, although her attorneys have not yet filed any petitions with the court to do so.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)