Britney Spears: Will Wednesday's Hearing Spell the Beginning of the End of Her Conservatorship?
A judge’s ruling in her favor on Wednesday would be like “saying that the circumstances that require the conservatorship no longer exist,” a lawyer tells TheWrap
Britney Spears’ conservatorship battle will once again head to court on Wednesday, where a judge could grant the singer’s request to hire an attorney of her choosing. And doing so would mark a death blow to the conservatorship, according to two lawyers who spoke to TheWrap.
“Everything Britney set in motion, she accelerated all of these issues to come to a head tomorrow,” Benny Roshan from Greenberg Glusker told TheWrap. “By allowing Britney to choose her own counsel, are we saying she has regained her capacity to enter a contract, which is something the conservatorship says she is not in a capacity to do? It will be an interesting hearing tomorrow to see what the court does. If Judge Brenda Penny approves the appointment of a new attorney, she is indirectly saying that the circumstances that require the conservatorship no longer exist.”
According to The New York Times, Spears talked to Mathew S. Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, about him and his firm stepping in to take over for Spears’ court-appointed lawyer Samuel D. Ingham III, whom Spears criticized during the hearing last month. Ingham was appointed as counsel in 2008. He resigned from the case last week.
Wednesday’s hearing will primarily focus on Spears’ representation first, but other petitions are also on the court’s docket: Ingham’s petition to tender his resignation to be relieved upon the appointment of a new lawyer; Bessemer Trust to resign as co-conservator of Spears’ estate; a petition from Spears’ mom to allow Britney to file for her own counsel; Jodi Montgomery’s request to have her security expenses paid for by the conservatorship.
“What we can expect tomorrow is that the court would have to prioritize the issue of Britney’s attorney getting sorted out,” Roshan explained. “She definitely needs an attorney and likely the court will focus on that above all the other issues. The court is not gonna force Bessemer Trust to stay on, so that’s a no-brainer and the court can grant that, assuming the court figures out what to do with the Britney counsel issue.”
Daniel Sallus, a partner of Stone & Sallus LLP, says everyone should be entitled to choosing their own representation – which is why the ACLU on Tuesday filed an amicus brief to support Spears’ wish to choose her own attorney.
“Whether Judge Penny is going to make a ruling tomorrow is up for debate,” Sallus said. “Whether she takes it under submission or whether she allows Britney to choose her own counsel is an unknown situation … The main issue in the overall case is that Jamie Spears is claiming that she’s susceptible to fraud or undue influence and I’m not sure how that’s going to tie in to her being allowed to choose her own counsel.”
Sallus said the judge does not have to make a decision immediately.
“The judge could take it under submission and make a written ruling later on — I’ve had situations where judges do that in the probate court,” he said. “They don’t have to make a decision tomorrow.”
Both attorneys said that Wednesday’s hearing will also pave the way for the next steps in Britney Spears’ conservatorship battle.
“If the court blesses her choice of counsel, at that point a formal order would have to be entered and the next step is to file a petition to terminate the conservatorship,” Roshan said. “She also asked for accountability of all people that wronged her, so her attorney could look to anyone that Britney feels abused their power, and for them to be held accountable in front of the court.”
But how long this battle will go on for is up in the air? Says Sallus: “This is probably a long-fought battle — it will go on for a couple months or years.”
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