At a hearing on Thursday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge overruled Jamie Spears’s objections to an order making Bessemer Trust the co-conservator of his pop star daughter’s estate. But it wasn’t exactly a victory for 39-year-old Britney Spears, who wants her father removed from the conservatorship altogether.
Britney wasn’t present at today’s hearing, but her attorney Samuel D. Ingham III was joined virtually by the elder Spears to duke it out over a petition the pop star filed last year to have a financial institution replace Jamie as the conservator of her estate, arguing that Spears was “afraid of her father” and would put her career on ice as long as he controls it. Judge Brenda Penny denied the request at a November 10 hearing, but appointed Bessemer Trust as James Spears’ co-conservator at the time.
On Thursday, Penny denied objections raised by James Spears’s lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, that his power over Britney’s estate was improperly reduced by the November order.
Ingham told the court that the order’s intent was to give both Jamie Spears and Bessemer “an equal division of responsibility, in the hopes that they would sit down and figure out together the best way to handle this complex estate for the benefit of my client.”
Thoreen argued, “There’s no intent or desire to create unequal power or decision-making as between the two, your honor. This is a way to make it consistent and to not take away powers that Mr. Spears as a conservator had.” Thoreen also denied that James Spears would try to delegate his powers to a third party, saying he only wanted “to be able to delegate the investment decision making authority to Bessemer.”
Ingham, meanwhile, said that his client was not going to take the hearing as opportunity to try to end her father’s control once and for all.
“It’s no secret that my client does not want her father as co-conservator,” he said, “but we recognize that removal is a separate issue.”
The decision comes a week after Framing Britney Spears hit Netflix and Hulu. The New York Times documentary explores the 12 years-and-counting that Britney has lived under her father’s conservatorship, and delves into the massive #FreeBritney phenomenon of fans who believe James Spears has taken over their idol’s finances, career, and even her social life against her will, and are dedicated to helping her win it back.
Additional hearings are scheduled for March 17 and April 27.