Britney Spears’ parents have become embroiled in a tense war of words in the battle surrounding her controversial conservatorship.
The “Toxic” singer was first placed under a court-ordered conservatorship more than a decade ago after she suffered a mental health crisis, giving her father Jamie Spears significant control over her finances and personal life – but she is currently fighting to remove him from the arrangement.
Under the terms of the conservatorship, Britney Spears must pay both her own legal fees and her father’s costs, which reportedly amount to around $2 million. Her mother Lynne Spears recently intervened, claiming in court documents that Jamie’s law firm Holland & Knight charged “substantively improper” fees of $890,000 to the singer for services that were not “performed in good faith”.
Lynne particularly objected to a fee of $224,000 charged by Holland & Knight for communications with the media, claiming that the firm initiated a “national media tour” for Jamie’s attorney Vivian L Thoreen in an effort to save his reputation.
Now, Jamie’s law firm Holland & Knight has hit back at Lynne, accusing her of “exploiting” her daughter.
In court documents seen by PEOPLE, Holland & Knight asked the judge to overrule Lynne’s objection to the company’s fees.
“Despite having zero involvement in her daughter’s conservatorship until very recently, Lynne Spears is asserting claims as if she were a party directly involved in the litigation (which she is not),” the law firm said.
Jamie’s lawyers accused Lynne of not “acting in the best interests” of her daughter and said she has “no knowledge” around the fees charged in the case.
Jamie Spears’ legal representatives defended its conduct in Britney Spears case
The firm defended its conduct in the case, saying it was working to “properly defend” Jamie from “specious allegations that have threatened to tarnish his reputation as a loving, caring father who has nothing to hide”.
The court papers added: “While the Conservator and his counsel have been very cautious, limited, and thoughtful in dealing with the media (a far cry from any ‘national media tour’), Lynne Spears is the one who exported her daughter’s pain and trauma for personal profit by publishing a book about the Conservatee,” referring to Through the Storm, Lynne’s 2008 book.
The legal firm went on to argue that communication with the media is “inextricably tied to all aspects” of the conservatorship.
The group said any media communication it has undertaken has been “an essential part” of representing and defending Jamie.
Holland & Knight’s court filing is just the latest chapter in the long and complex battle Britney Spears’ has initiated to have her father removed from her conservatorship.
Jamie remains in control of Britney’s estate, a role he now holds alongside financial firm the Bessemer Trust. The singer is fighting to have her father removed as conservator of her person, which gives him significant control over her personal life.
Britney has asked that the courts appoint Jodi Montgomery, a care professional, as conservator of her person instead.
PinkNews has contacted Holland & Knight for comment.