Britney Spears' Battle With Her Dad is Headed to a Trial - Rolling Stone
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Britney Spears Gets Full Fortune Back, Heads to Trial Against Dad

Lawyers for both the pop star and her father pushed for an evidentiary hearing regarding Jamie Spears’ conduct during Britney’s conservatorship — and a Los Angeles judge agreed

Singer Britney Spears makes an appearance in front of the Park MGM hotel-casino in Las Vegas, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. Spears announced her new residency at the Park MGM's Park Theater beginning in February 2019. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)Singer Britney Spears makes an appearance in front of the Park MGM hotel-casino in Las Vegas, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. Spears announced her new residency at the Park MGM's Park Theater beginning in February 2019. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun/AP Images

Britney Spears is getting her full fortune back as she heads to a trial against her dad, a judge ruled Wednesday.

At a heated hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom, lawyers for the pop star and her dad Jamie Spears clashed over whether the “Toxic” singer should regain full control of her estimated $60 million in assets and whether Jamie oversaw a surveillance program that bugged Britney’s bedroom.

The only thing the lawyers could agree on, it seemed, was that an evidentiary hearing is needed before the court closes the books on Britney’s recently terminated conservatorship and all its pending requests for outstanding payments.

After hearing arguments that repeatedly devolved into shouting matches, Judge Brenda Penny set a follow-up hearing for July 27. Her hope, she said, it that the parties will finish their discovery by then and be ready to set a trial date in a different courtroom.

In one particularly fiery exchange Wednesday, Britney’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, accused Jamie’s lawyer, Alex Weingarten, of sidestepping the issue of “whether or not his client knew about electronic eavesdropping on my client,” including “the placing of a listening device in the bedroom of my client.”

“Didn’t happen, your honor,” Weingarten shot back, cutting Rosengart off after alleging earlier in the hearing that perhaps Rosengart “planted” the story about the listening device in the New York Times last year.

“He just made accusations that are disgraceful, and he should be ashamed. He says it didn’t happen? Let’s see what Mr. Spears says under oath when he’s deposed,” Rosengart said.

Speaking to Rolling Stone after the hearing, Rosengart said the surveillance issue “is directly relevant to the issue of whether Mr. Spears would be entitled to any additional money.”

The lawyers also sparred Wednesday over a request that a chunk of Britney’s financial estate remain in a reserve account until the court resolves just how much, if anything, Jamie, his lawyers, and various other people still seeking payment should receive.

Rosengart argued his client deserved full access to her funds and had no plans to “dissipate assets in order to avoid any order” from the court. “The money is not going to a Swiss bank account, but it is her money,” he said.

“Let’s remember why this conservatorship existed in the first place, because Ms. Spears was irresponsible with, among other things, her money. It’s relevant to the issue of whether or not her money will be available,” Weingarten replied, leading Rosengart to call the comment “highly inappropriate.”

“Let’s not go down that road,” Judge Penny said before clearing the way for all assets still in the conservatorship estate to be transferred back to Britney herself. “I’m not going to order a reserve.”

Before the afternoon hearing ended, Weingarten said Jamie planned to file a motion to “unseal” the conservatorship case files so he could “vindicate” himself in the face of “demonstrably false” accusations. “We ask that the public actually get the truth,” Weingarten said.

“We don’t think a father who loves his daughter is going to move to unseal her health records in order to defend his own reputation,” Rosengart countered, calling the proposed motion “ethically, morally and legally inappropriate.”

The pop star was freed from her nearly 14-year conservatorship on Nov. 12 after blowing the doors off the legal arrangement with back-to-back statements to Judge Penny in June and July. In her live addresses heard around the world, the singer said her conservatorship, largely controlled by her father, was “cruel” and “abusive” as it dictated her finances, health care, and personal life for most of her adult life.

Once she hired Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, she started her aggressive campaign to investigate claims her dad mismanaged her millions while using “bullying conduct” to keep her in line.

To that end, she hired the accounting and intelligence firm Kroll for a forensic review of the controversial conservatorship and filed new paperwork Friday summarizing the probe so far. In a sworn statement included with the filing, Kroll executive Sherine Ebadi, a ex-FBI agent, said she found a “pattern of misconduct” that raises possible “criminal implications.”

Most notably, Ebadi said she personally debriefed Britney’s former security staffer Alex Vlasov and found him to be “highly credible.” Vlasov is the whistleblower who previously told the New York Times that he had firsthand knowledge of his ex-boss Edan Yemini, CEO of Black Box Security, placing a secret listening device in Britney’s bedroom and using surveillance technology that captured the singer’s privileged communications with her lawyer.

“Mr. Vlasov regularly overheard Mr. Yemini updating Mr. Spears on the contents of the phone devices used by his daughter,” Ebadi wrote in her statement.

Rosengart said Wednesday that Jamie had yet to give “meaningful” responses to his discovery requests on the issue of surveillance. Weingarten, meanwhile, was adamant his client was not withholding any evidence.

“Mr. Yemeni and Black Box have always conducted themselves within professional, ethical, and legal bounds, and they are particularly proud of their work in keeping Ms. Spears safe for many years,” Yemini’s civil lawyer Shawn Holley previously told Rolling Stone.

Beyond the issue of security, Ebadi said she also found evidence Jamie was operating with a conflict of interest when he tapped Tri Star Sports & Entertainment for the highly lucrative role of managing Britney during the bulk of the conservatorship.

According to written discovery questions served on Jamie and filed with the court, the conflict allegedly involved a $40,000 debt Jamie owed to Tri Star before the conservatorship began and a possible intimate relationship Jamie had with Tri Star’s boss Lou Taylor.

“Admit that, when you were the Conservator of the Estate, you had a romantic relationship with Lou Taylor,” one of the questions reads.

In This Article: Britney Spears, Jamie Spears

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