After 13 years, Britney Spears's father, Jamie Spears, has officially been suspended as her conservator. Judge Brenda Penny made the ruling during the pop star's court hearing on Wednesday, removing him immediately from the conservatorship, which was first established in 2008. "[This decision is] in the best interest of the conservatee, which is my goal," Judge Penny said, according to People.
Accountant John Zabel will temporarily replace Jamie and assume control of Britney's financial decisions, while Jodi Montgomery will still remain part of the conservatorship. Britney's attorney, Mathew Rosengart, is now also calling for the conservatorship to be terminated this fall, suggesting an end within the next 45 days.
Following his suspension, Jamie issued a statement to Variety via his attorney, Vivian Thoreen, saying, "Mr. Spears loves his daughter Britney unconditionally. For thirteen years, he has tried to do what is in her best interests, whether as a conservator or her father. This started with agreeing to serve as her conservator when she voluntarily entered into the conservatorship. This included helping her revive her career and re-establish a relationship with her children. For anyone who has tried to help a family member dealing with mental health issues, they can appreciate the tremendous amount of daily worry and work this required. For Mr. Spears, this also meant biting his tongue and not responding to all the false, speculative, and unsubstantiated attacks on him by certain members of the public, media, or more recently, Britney's own attorney."
The statement then claimed his suspension was a "loss for Britney," adding, "Respectfully, the court was wrong to suspend Mr. Spears, put a stranger in his place to manage Britney's estate, and extend the very conservatorship that Britney begged the court to terminate earlier this summer. Again, it was Mr. Spears who took the initiative to file the petition to terminate the conservatorship when neither Britney's former court-appointed counsel nor her new privately-retained attorney would do so. It was Mr. Spears who asked the court at yesterday's hearing to immediately terminate the conservatorship while Britney's own attorney argued against it. Despite the suspension, Mr. Spears will continue to look out for the best interests of his daughter and work in good faith towards a positive resolution of all matters."
Jamie previously filed a petition to end the conservatorship, which CNN reported on Sept. 7. The filing read, "Recent events related to this conservatorship have called into question whether circumstances have changed to such an extent that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship may no longer exist. Ms. Spears has told this Court that she wants control of her life back without the safety rails of a conservatorship."
"She wants to be able to make decisions regarding her own medical care, deciding when, where and how often to get therapy," the petition stated. "She wants to control the money she has made from her career and spend it without supervision or oversight. She wants to be able to get married and have a baby, if she so chooses. In short, she wants to live her life as she chooses without the constraints of a conservator or court proceeding. As Mr. Spears has said again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter. If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance."
In a previous statement to People, Rosengart called the filing a "massive legal victory." "Having exposed his misconduct and improper plan to hold his daughter hostage by trying to extract a multi-million dollar settlement, Mr. Spears has now effectively surrendered. There is no settlement," Rosengart said. "To the extent Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, he is incorrect and our investigation into financial mismanagement and other issues will continue," the attorney added.