Britney Spears' father remains in guardian role as case continues

A 2019 photo shows Britney Spears at the premiere of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, in Los Angeles, California. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A Los Angeles court has confirmed a months-old decision denying Britney Spears' request to eject her father from a guardianship that gives him control of her affairs, even as the embattled pop star launches a new bid to end the arrangement.

The formal ruling on Wednesday (June 30) is not related to Spears' impassioned plea in court last week to end what she has called an "abusive" conservatorship.

The 39-year-old told the court she has been heavily medicated, barred from making decisions on friendships or finances, and prevented from having a contraceptive implant removed despite wanting more children.

Spears' attorneys have yet to file a formal petition to end the conservatorship, and the last Los Angeles Superior Court ruling did not take the recent testimony into account.

Instead, the ruling was in connection to a request last year by Spears' lawyer to add wealth management firm Bessemer Trust to the conservatorship and remove her father Jamie Spears.

The judge ruled that Jamie Spears remains in charge of his daughter's estate alongside the Bessemer Trust.

"The conservator's request to suspend James P. Spears immediately upon the appointment of Bessemer Trust Company of California as sole conservator of estate is denied without prejudice," Judge Brenda Penny said in court filings cited by US media.

But later on Thursday, the financial company requested to be removed from the arrangement, throwing the situation into fresh turmoil, according to the New York Times.

The Bessemer Trust did not immediately respond to AFP's request for comment.

Jamie Spears has largely managed his daughter's finances and personal life since her highly public breakdown more than a decade ago, leading some adoring fans to launch a "FreeBritney" online campaign in recent years.

Supporters have long scoured her social media accounts for hints about her well-being, and any sign that she may be eager to throw off the guardianship, before last week's statement to the court brought her efforts into broad daylight.

"I just want my life back. It's been 13 years and it's enough," Spears said in the 20-minute statement.

'Reproductive desires'

Responding to his daughter's widely publicised comments, Spears' father filed petitions on Wednesday asking the court to investigate the pop star's allegations that she was medicated with lithium and made to perform against her will.

"Mr Spears is concerned about the management and care of his daughter," said one filing, noting that professional conservator Jodi Montgomery "has been fully in charge of Ms Spears' day-to-day personal care and medical treatment."

The revelation that the conservatorship is preventing her from removing a contraceptive IUD sparked particular outrage from fans and reproductive rights groups online.

Jamie Spears does not "participate in or discuss Ms Spears' personal affairs with her, such as issues related to her self-care, marriage, and reproductive desires," his filing adds.

In response, a statement from Montgomery's lawyers said the conservator "has been a tireless advocate for Britney and for her well-being."

"Britney's choice to marry and to start a family have never been impacted by the conservatorship while Ms Montgomery has been conservator of the person," it said, adding that "no expenditures can happen without going through Mr Spears and Mr Spears approving them."

The next hearing is currently set for July 14.

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