Britney Spears wants her father charged with conservatorship abuse, a court in Los Angeles was reportedly told on Wednesday, during a hearing in which she is applying to appoint her own lawyer and bring about an end to the 13-year arrangement.
Supporters of the #FreeBritney movement gathered outside Los Angeles Supreme Court for the hearing, where the star’s hand-picked attorney Mathew Rosengart will argue that he should take over her case.
The court hearing kicked off at 1.30pm local time at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles where Judge Brenda Penny was set to hear arguments on who should represent Spears in her battle to remove her father Jamie as her conservator and end the conservatorship.
The 39-year-old pop star picked her choice last week, signing a legal document requesting to hire the high-profile former federal prosecutor Rosengart.
This comes after her longtime court-appointed attorney Samuel Ingham resigned in the wake of Spears’ bombshell court appearance on June 23 where she pleaded for the ‘abusive’ conservatorship to end.
Spears gave explosive testimony in last month’s hearing where she accused her father of controlling her life and fortune for the last 13 years and likened her situation to that of a sex-trafficked person.
#FreeBritney fans have gathered outside Los Angeles Supreme Court (above) for Britney Spears’ latest conservatorship hearing where the star’s hand-picked attorney Mathew Rosengart will argue to take over her case
Supporters of the #FreeBritney movement gather at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles where the hearing kicked off at 1.30pm local time
Florida congressman Matt Gaetz joined the singer’s fans who gathered outside the court in a show of support Wednesday.
Gaetz, who is under investigation from the Justice Department for sex trafficking a child, was flanked by police as he spoke to crowds.
The close Trump ally tweeted his support of the pop star earlier on Wednesday, tweeting that he would represent the star as her attorney for ‘for free.’
He told the crowd that her father, Jamie Spears, and others in her orbit were ‘grifters’ who have victimized the singer.
He also called Spears’ father ‘a d***.’
‘If this case does not result in freedom for Britney Spears,’ Gaetz told the cheering crowd, ‘it is a black eye for the American justice system.’
‘There were grifters in this process,’ the congressman said, that claimed ‘they knew what she wanted. And now the whole world knows what Britney wants – it is the freedom and liberty that should be offered to every single American.’
He claimed the current system ’empowers people to take advantage of the weak,’ noting that Spears is ‘nearly 40 years old. She should make her own decisions… Britney has a chance because we all love her and care about her.’
He continued: ‘She’s been abused by the media. She’s been abused by her grifter father. And she has been abused by the American justice system. And so we need to come together and create a federal cause of action — a federal change in the law that will free Britney and the millions of Americans’ who are also under conservatorships.’
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.
Spears is not expected to appear in court Wednesday for the closed door hearing.
She will still be represented by Ingham as the judge will rule on who should take over as her attorney.
Rosengart accepted her request to represent her in her conservatorship case, TMZ revealed on Tuesday.
He was scheduled to appear remotely at Wednesday’s hearing where he was expected to ask the judge to appoint him, arguing it is Spears’ constitutional right to choose her own lawyer.
Judge Brenda Penny was set to hear arguments on who should represent Spears (above) in her battle to remove her father Jamie as her conservator and end the conservatorship
Rosengart’s argument is that the singer ‘is entitled to due process, which includes the right to a competent lawyer’, TMZ reported.
The argument presents a challenge because the terms of the conservatorship mean Spears is prevented from signing any legally binding contracts without her father’s permission.
Rosengart is expected to argue against this, saying that Jamie should not have the power to reject her choice of lawyer – given that her lawyer is representing her in a case against Jamie himself.
Rosengart is well known as an attorney to the stars having represented a number of high-profile Hollywood clients, including Steven Spielberg, Ben Affleck and his brother Casey, Sean Penn and director Michael Mann.
Penny will also rule on a petition filed by wealth management firm Bessemer Trust to remove itself as a co-conservator of Spears’ multimillion-dollar estate.
Florida congressman Matt Gaetz joined the singer’s fans who gathered outside the court in a show of support Wednesday. Gaetz, who is under investigation from the Justice Department for sex trafficking a child, was flanked by police as he spoke to crowd
Supporters also gathered outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC as the hearing got under way
Bessemer Trust filed the petition on July 1 after hearing the singer’s testimony where she said she wanted to be free from the conservatorship.
The New York-based firm is a private, independent office that oversees more than $140 billion for over 2,500 families, foundations, and endowments.
Bessemer Trust had requested to resign ‘due to changed circumstances,’ according to court documents filed on July 1.
According to the documents, Bessemer Trust said they had believed Spears’ conservatorship was ‘voluntary’ and that she consented to the firm acting as co-conservator, until the singer publicly revealed she wants the arrangement to end during an explosive court hearing on June 23.
Spears broke her silence on the conservatorship in public for the first time last month in damning testimony where she called the arrangement ‘abusive.’
The star spoke for 20 minutes where she told how her father controlled every aspect of her life including forcing her to have birth control implants to prevent her having anymore children.
Spears’ astonishing testimony sparked a flurry of activity in her case.
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, begun publicly bickering over who is to blame for the restrictions the singer complained about.
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.
Meanwhile Larry Rudolph, the pop star’s manager of 25 years, resigned, saying Spears wanted to retire and his services were no longer needed.