A stunning development in the Britney Spears conservatorship battle has left lawyers and legal experts scratching their heads all over Los Angeles.
It appears that the case, which involves a small army of lawyers, is now stalled until an unusual (to say the least) dispute can be resolved. What it boils down to is this: are Britney Spears’ civil rights being violated by the conservatorship which has been engineered by her parents?
This first surfaced Thursday when publicist Michael Sands (who represents Spears’ confidant Sam Lutfi) handed a document to the clerk at Superior Court shortly after the Thursday afternoon’s hearing.
The document, which was accepted and stamped by the court clerk’s office, bore a case number from the United States District Court in Los Angeles.
To help you keep this straight, that’s a federal court. The conservatorship is being handled in Superior Court, for the State of California.
Enter attorney Jon Eardley, who has offices in Whittier, Calif., Washington, D.C. and Jericho, New York, and who claims to be the attorney for Britney Spears. Mr. Eardley argues that the current state of her conservatorship is in violation of her civil rights.
As he argues in the papers, Britney Spears is not being allowed to visit her friends, to use phones, or to hire an attorney of her own choosing. Michael Sands has compared this situation to the cases of suspected terrorists who were detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without benefit of counsel as facing similar civil rights violations.
For now, according to L.A. Superior Court, everything having to do with the conservatorship stays in effect. For example, Britney’s dad Jamie has co-control over her $40 million dollar estate, over the hiring and firing of employees, and has the right to file for a restraining order on her behalf.
But at the same time, nothing else can happen until the federal court decides whether or not to accept jurisdiction over the case. “Access” has learned that research attorneys in Superior Court are looking into this matter.
Presumably so are attorneys for Jamie Spears (who “Access” has been unable to reach them for comment), who would want the case to stay in Superior Court.
It would be highly unusual for the federal court to take over a case like this. But it could happen.