Britney Spears's dad Jamie is responding after two lawmakers requested a hearing on court-ordered conservatorships amid the #FreeBritney movement — and one branded him a "grifter" for his role as co-conservator of her estate.
Two Republican congressmen, Rep. Matt Gaetz from Florida and Rep. Jim Jordan from Ohio, wrote a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler about the "growing public concern about the use of conservatorships," as highlighted in the New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears, saying they "effectively deprive individuals of personal freedoms at the behest of others through the manipulation of the courts."
The letter specifically called out Jamie — who, as co-conservator of Britney's estate, handles financial decisions for the star with co-conservator Bessemer Trust (Britney separately has a conservatorship of her person, managed by Jodi Montgomery) — calling out his "questionable motives and legal tactics." The letter said, "In court appearances in August and November of 2020, Ms. Spears’ attorney represented to the court that Ms. Spears 'strongly opposed' having her father as a conservator, that she was afraid of her father, and that she would not again perform publicly so long as this arrangement persisted.'"
In a subsequent interview, Gaetz said he wants Britney — who despite wanting her father out has not yet asked to terminate the conservatorship of 13 years — to come to Washington, D.C. and testify to share her experience. The star has rarely ever publicly acknowledged that she's in a conservatorship in the first place.
The politico also used Twitter to call Jamie a "grifter."
Jamie's attorney for the conservatorship, Vivian L. Thoreen, provided a statement to Yahoo Entertainment in response, saying, "From the beginning, the court has closely monitored Britney’s situation, including through annual accountings and in-depth reviews and recommendations from a highly experienced and dedicated court investigator who annually meets at length with Britney and all involved in her conservatorship."
The statement continues, "Britney’s Conservatorship of the Estate was co-managed by a private professional fiduciary and her father until early 2019. At that time, Britney requested in court papers that her father be the sole conservator of her estate. Her Conservatorship of the Person" — which Montgomery oversees, making decisions about her health, where she lives and who she sees — "is not managed by her father but by a private professional fiduciary, and is similarly subject to the scrutiny of interviews, audits and detailed reports to the judge by the court investigator."
It ends by saying, "Jamie Spears has diligently and professionally carried out his duties as one of Britney’s conservators, and his love for his daughter and dedication to protecting her is clearly apparent to the court. Any time Britney wants to end her conservatorship, she can ask her lawyer to file a petition to terminate it; she has always had this right but in 13 years has never exercised it. Britney knows that her Daddy loves her, and that he will be there for her whenever and if she needs him, just as he always has been — conservatorship or not."
Thoreen has given multiple interviews lately defending Jamie, who she says was wrongfully portrayed as a "villain." She's maintained that Britney needed the conservatorship in 2008 amid back-to-back involuntary hospitalizations and the star being taken advantage of financially to the point where, despite earning $40 million a year, her estate was worth $2.8 million.
Through Jamie's management, Thoreen has said the estate is now worth nearly $60 million — and Britney, who recently said is taking time off from work to be a "normal person," doesn't have to work again, if she chooses not to, and she and her children would still be provided for.
While Britney has not spoken directly about any of this, her court-appointed attorney said last year she wants her dad out of his role in her conservatorship. She said she's "afraid" of him and won't work until he's gone. However, she has not moved to legally terminate the conservatorship — yet.
There are monthly hearings in Britney's conservatorship case and the next one is scheduled for March 17.
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