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Beset by squabbles, Britney Spears' bid for freedom goes back to court

by Reuters
Wednesday, 14 July 2021 10:00 GMT

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES, July 14 (Reuters) - Three weeks after Britney Spears pleaded with a judge to get her life back, her bid for freedom returns to court on Wednesday with the conservatorship that controls her personal and business affairs embroiled in disputes, resignations and reports of death threats.

Spears, 39, seems no nearer to bringing an end to the 13-year court-sanctioned conservatorship she called abusive, stupid and embarrassing in an emotional address in June.

The case returns to Los Angeles court on Wednesday following bombshell remarks by Spears in which she spoke of being prevented from marrying again or having more children, and said she wanted to choose her own lawyer.

The singer has yet to file the necessary legal documents to terminate the conservatorship. Her court-appointed lawyer Samuel Ingham quit last week and has not yet been replaced.

The judge is expected on Wednesday to consider the singer's choice of a new lawyer to represent her, along with requests for 24/7 security following death threats against those involved in the conservatorship as public support for Spears has swelled.

It is not clear whether the "Piece of Me" singer, who has undisclosed mental health issues, will take part in the hearing.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed legal documents supporting Spears.

"The court should ensure that Britney Spears has access to the tools she needs to make that choice meaningfully and to hire someone she trusts to advocate for her stated goal: to get out of her conservatorship," Zoe Brennan-Krohn, staff attorney at the ACLU's Disability Rights Project, said in a statement.

Jodi Montgomery, who is tasked with looking after the singer's personal care, and the singer's father Jamie Spears, who has controlled her estate since 2008, are bickering over who is to blame for the restrictions the singer complained about last month.

In a court filing last week, Montgomery accused Jamie Spears of "finger-pointing and media attacks," rather than working as a team to help the singer.

Jamie Spears, Montgomery, Ingham and the singer's sister Jamie Lynn Spears, have all received death threats that have escalated since the pop star's address to the judge on June 23, according to court documents.

Jamie Spears filed papers expressing concern about "dangerous rhetoric" around the case, and asked the court to investigate his daughter's claims and give him an opportunity to respond.

Financial firm Bessemer Trust has asked to step down from its role in managing the singer's $60 million estate, while the pop star's manager of 25 years resigned saying Spears wanted to retire and his services were no longer needed. (Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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