Britney Spears wants a judge to pull the plug on her dad’s ability to tap her fortune for his legal representation as she investigates his purported financial “self-dealing” and alleged surveillance inside her home during her 13-year conservatorship.
In a new filing ahead of a court showdown Wednesday, the pop star and her lawyer Mathew Rosengart claimed Jamie Spears already has “siphoned” more than $6 million from her coffers while engaging in “abusive and bullying conduct” that included secretly recording her in her bedroom.
To bolster their claims, they submitted a sworn statement Sherine Ebadi, a former FBI agent now probing Jamie’s alleged misconduct on the pop star’s behalf. In her declaration, Ebadi said she “personally debriefed and interviewed” whistleblower Alex Vlasov after he previously told the New York Times his former security company boss placed a hidden listening device in Britney’s bedroom while working for Jamie.
“Based upon my training and experience, including as a Special Agent with the FBI, and having debriefed and interviewed many hundreds of individuals and witnesses, I concluded that Mr. Vlasov was highly-credible,” Ebadi wrote in her statement signed Jan. 13 and obtained by Rolling Stone.
Citing Ebadi’s declaration, and claiming Jamie is using “obfuscation and stonewalling” to hinder their investigation, Britney and Rosengart now argue Jamie should be forced to pay his own legal fees out of money he’s already received from the conservatorship. And if he already has spent that money, he should “consider hiring other, less expensive counsel whom he can afford,” their latest filing that surfaced Tuesday said.
According to a different declaration filed last month, Jamie’s new lead lawyer Alex Weingarten charges an eye-watering $1,200 per hour, while his co-counsel Eric Bakewell charges $860.
“Permitting Mr. Spears to pay his lawyers from Britney Spears’s estate without judicial oversight — largely for the purpose of mounting a ‘defense’ to potential claims against him — would grant them a license to run up fees waging a war of attrition, obstruct efforts to discover the truth about everything Mr. Spears has done, and incur fees not to assist the ‘transition’… but to defend himself and cover up the truth,” the new filing from Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, states.
In his dueling petition filed Dec. 15, Jamie asked the court for permission to continue paying Weingarten and Bakewell from Britney’s estate, claiming he needs the money to carry out his “duties relating to the winding up of the conservatorship,” which was effectively terminated in November.
He and Weingarten stated in their paperwork that Jamie still owes Britney “fiduciary obligations” even though he was removed from his role through a suspension. Jamie claimed his ongoing responsibilities include finalizing the accounting related to his administration of the estate in 2019, preparing a final accounting covering the period from July 2020 through the present, and engaging in “discovery” related to his daughter’s investigation.
Britney and Rosengart, however, claim Jamie “is still acting faithlessly, elevating his interests above those of his daughter.” According to Ebadi, her investigation shows Jamie paid himself $6,314,307.99 for his work on his daughter’s conservatorship between 2008 and the end of 2020 and also approved payment of more than $30 million in fees to dozens of firms for sometimes “questionable” and overlapping work.
Ebadi’s statement says Jamie was in a “dire financial situation” prior to becoming Britney’s conservator. This included a bankruptcy and a $40,000 loan from Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group, a then-obscure business management company. Ebadi’s statement points out that Jamie would go on to award Tri Star “multi-million dollar commissions and fees from his daughter’s earnings,” despite the alleged conflict of interest.
The issue of Jamie’s legal fees is set to be argued Wednesday afternoon at the same courthouse where Britney’s conservatorship was first granted in 2008 and then effectively terminated in November.
Spears, meanwhile, has been enjoying her newfound freedom with her fiancé Sam Asghari, taking luxury vacations and showing off her engagement ring.
She’s also been engaged in some back-and-forth sniping with younger sister Jamie Lynn, who recently spoke to ABC’s Good Morning America while promoting her new book Things I Should Have Said.
In a statement on Twitter, Britney accused her family of ruining her life and lying about her mental state in 2008 to make money.
“My family ruined my dreams 100 billion percent and try to make me look like the crazy one,” Britney wrote. “My family loves to pull me down and hurt me always so I am disgusted with them.”