Britney Spears Asks Judge to Charge Her Father Jamie for Conservatorship Abuse in Tearful Testimony
By Desiree Murphy
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During the latest hearing for Britney Spears' ongoing conservatorship case on Wednesday, the 39-year-old singer addressed the court again. Speaking over the phone, Britney got emotional, crying as she told Los Angeles judge Brenda Penny that she wants her father, Jamie Spears, charged with conservatorship abuse.
Judge Penny also granted Britney approval to hire her own legal counsel for the conservatorship case, a request the singer made during her testimony at a hearing on June 23. Britney was granted permission to hire Mathew Rosengart, a prominent Hollywood lawyer and former federal prosecutor, as her new attorney moving forward.
Rosengart, who appeared in court for the hearing, told the judge that Britney "has a constitutional right to pick her own attorney," and that he feels her "powerful testimony shows she is capable of hiring counsel."
Addressing the judge in her statement, Britney claimed, "This conservatorship is literally allowing my dad to ruin my life."
The singer alleged that she has "always been extremely scared" of her father, because she claims she "thought he was going to show up drunk."
She repeated her claims that the conservatorship felt like "f**king cruelty" and said of those in charge of her conservatorship, "I thought they were trying to kill me."
The singer said she recognizes how, in the past, the situation would make her frustrated and she would make "mistakes, [have] breakdowns and angry tantrums," but claimed that she felt like those in charge of her conservatorship were trying to make her feel crazy.
"I want to press charges against my father for conservatorship abuse," Britney said, adding, "I want an investigation into my dad."
To this point, Rosengart stated, "We will be moving promptly and aggressively for [Jamie's] removal."
"The question remains, why is he involved? He should step down voluntarily because that’s what’s in the best interest of the conservatee,” Rosengart added.
ET reported earlier on Wednesday that judge Penny would hear a number of different issues during the July 14 hearing, which began at approximately 1:30 p.m. PT at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. As expected, a range of issues and petitions were addressed, including attorney and conservator fees and the resignation of Bessemer Trust as co-conservator of Britney's estate.
Additionally, the ACLU, the ACLU of Southern California and 25 other civil rights and disability rights organizations came together in support of Britney and her right to choose her own attorney for her conservatorship proceedings.
The ACLU filed a petition with the Superior Court of Los Angeles earlier this week, requesting the ability to provide confidential communication with Britney in order to offer and provide supported decision-making services without a cost, and were heard briefly on the matter during Wednesday's hearing. Their petition was denied, however, due to the fact that Britney now has new legal counsel.
"After Britney's testimony in the last hearing, I think there's certainly a lot of public sentiment over ending this conservatorship for good," legal analyst Rachel Stockman, who has been following the case, told ET ahead of the latest hearing. "I think this is a very important day for Britney. Finally, we may see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is her conservatorship ... we're getting close to this actually ending for Britney Spears."
"The judge is going to be looking at more than a dozen different motions in this case and making some important decisions," she continued. "So I think this is a very big day. They judge has a lot to consider when she's looking at this case."
During the previous hearing on June 23, Britney addressed the court directly for the first time in years, requesting to terminate the conservatorship without having to be evaluated, see a therapist at her home once a week and more. At one point, she also urged the court to let her hire her own counsel.
Just last week, days after Britney gave her first explosive testimony, her court-appointed attorney of 13 years, Samuel Ingham, resigned from the case. A judge approved the attorney's motion to be removed on Wednesday.
"I think it's real game changer if Britney finally gets to hire her own attorney, her own advocate to fight for her," Stockman tells ET. "She gets to choose someone, she gets to vet the background, and she gets to make that decision. I think it's a big move and I think it's a really important one."
The New York Times previously reported that ahead of the latest hearing, Britney was telling others that she wanted to take "a far more aggressive legal approach," and was having discussions with Mathew S. Rosengart about representing her and pushing for an end to her conservatorship. Rosengart has represented a number of celebrities over the years, including Ben Affleck, Sean Penn and Steven Spielberg.
"I've been in denial. I've been in shock. I am traumatized. You know, fake it till you make it, but now I'm telling you the truth, OK," she said at the time. "I'm not happy. I can't sleep. I'm so angry, it's insane and I'm depressed. I cry every day."
"It's enough and it makes no sense at all ... I'm done," Britney continued, accusing her father, Jamie Spears, and those involved in her conservatorship of "criminal" behavior. "I want to sue my family, to be totally honest with you."
After a brief recess, Jamie's attorney relayed a statement on his client's behalf, telling the court, "He is sorry to see his daughter suffering and in so much pain. Mr. Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much."
Jamie currently remains in control of Britney's finances after a judge denied the pop star's request to remove her father as conservator of her estate late last month. Jamie has also asked that his daughter's claims from the June 23 hearing be investigated. In court documents obtained by ET, he claims they are "serious allegations regarding forced labor, forced medical treatment and therapy, improper medical care, and limitations on personal rights."
For more on Britney's ongoing conservatorship battle, watch the video below: