AP File

Britney Spears is freed from conservatorship

A petition to terminate Britney Spears’s conservatorship was approved, ending a 13-year legal arrangement ruling her life and her finances that she alleges has been abusive.

The decision by Judge Brenda Penny in Los Angeles Superior Court Friday enables the 39-year-old pop star to regain control over her health, work and $60 million estate.

“What’s next for Britney—and this is the first time this could be said for about a decade—is up to one person: Britney,” Ms. Spears’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart of Greenberg Traurig LLP, said at a press conference outside the courthouse Friday.

After the hearing, roars from Ms. Spears’s fans could be heard blocks away. When asked if Ms. Spears would return to performing, Mr. Rosengart said, “She will if she wants to.”

“Good God I love my fans so much it’s crazy,” Ms. Spears posted to social media with a video of her fans throwing glittering pink confetti outside the courthouse. “Best day ever,” she wrote, using the hashtag #FreedBritney.

Ms. Spears’s case has become a flashpoint in pop culture. It also has triggered a broader re-examination of how celebrity women of her generation have been treated and the potential dangers of conservatorships.

Ms. Spears, who has repeatedly requested not to have to undergo a psychological evaluation, wasn’t required to do so as a condition of the termination.

“There is no reason why Britney can’t live a safe, happy and fulfilling life after this termination,” Laurie Ann Wright, an attorney for Jodi Montgomery, who has been serving as conservator of Ms. Spears’s person, testified in court.

The judge approved the petition filed by Ms. Spears’s father in September to end the conservatorship. Jamie Spears was suspended as conservator of the estate at the end of September, and temporarily replaced by John Zabel, an accountant.

A conservatorship is a legal arrangement in which a judge appoints a person to assume responsibility over someone else, usually a close relative, who lacks the ability to manage their own personal and financial affairs. While conservatorships often involve the elderly, they can also oversee younger people struggling with mental-health or substance-abuse issues.

Mr. Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor who took over from Ms. Spears’s court-appointed lawyer in July, has said he is investigating Mr. Spears’s actions during the entire conservatorship, and at a previous hearing prioritized suspending Mr. Spears over an immediate termination.

On Friday, Mr. Rosengart said he has organized and submitted to the court a plan ensuring a “safety net” for Ms. Spears’s financial and personal matters and an “orderly transition of power,” allowing for the immediate termination of the conservatorship. Part of that plan, approved by the judge, allows Mr. Zabel to retain the power to execute estate-planning documents and transfer assets into a trust.

Mr. Spears has long said he is trying to protect his daughter’s business and takes credit for helping to rebuild her career.

Ms. Spears was placed under the conservatorship in 2008 after a probate judge deemed her unable to manage her affairs. Struggling with mental-health issues at the time, Ms. Spears publicly said then that it was needed.

Ms. Spears in June for the first time spoke publicly about the arrangement in a hearing where she indicated she wanted to reclaim some control over her finances, work and health. She said she has been prevented from seeking medical help to remove an IUD and has described years of being overworked and restricted, from taking hair vitamins and drinking coffee to eating a hamburger and french fries.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text



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