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In Britney Spears conservatorship filing, her father calls her 'mentally sick'

The conservator appointed to oversee Spears' personal needs denies telling Jamie Spears his daughter could be subject to psychiatric hospitalization.
/ Source: NBC News

Britney Spears' father claimed in a legal filing Friday that the conservator appointed to oversee her personal needs told him she is "mentally sick" and could be subject to involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.

The filing, related to Jamie Spears' possible removal as conservator to his daughter's estate, said her temporary conservator-of-the-person, Jodi Montgomery, expressed concern in a July 9 phone call over the pop singer's mental health.

Montgomery, speaking through a statement from her lawyer, Lauriann Wright, said she did express "concerns" about the star's "overall mental health," but that Jamie Spears "misrepresents what Ms. Montgomery said to him in relation to a potential 5150 psychiatric hold for Ms. Spears."

Involuntary psychiatric detainment in California is known as a 5150 hold.

"At no time did Ms. Montgomery express to Mr. Spears that Ms. Spears would currently qualify for such a hold," Wright said.

Montgomery said her words were twisted and that her concerns were related to the possibility that Britney Spears would have to testify in her attempt to remove her father from the conservatorship.

Britney Spears formally asked the court on Thursday to remove her father, claiming he had enriched himself while controlling her finances.

"The concern that Ms. Montgomery did raise to Mr. Spears during their telephone call is that forcing Ms. Spears to take the stand to testify or to have her evaluated would move the needle in the wrong direction for her mental health," Wright said.

Montgomery was appointed in 2019 as Britney Spears' temporary conservator-of-the-person, a role designed to help the subject of a conservatorship handle basic personal needs, such as shelter, medical care and food.

Jamie Spears' representatives declined to comment, and an attorney for Britney Spears did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Jamie Spears said in the document filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court that during their phone call, Montgomery sounded "distraught" and "expressed concern about Ms. Spears’ recent behavior and her refusal to listen to or even see her doctors."

His sense, he said in the document, was that "Ms. Spears was spiraling out of control."

"Ms. Montgomery explained that my daughter was not timely or properly taking her medications, was not listening to the recommendations of her medical team, and refused to even see some of her doctors," he said in the filing.

"Ms. Montgomery said she was very worried about the direction my daughter was heading in and directly asked for my help to address these issues.

"After Ms. Montgomery shared her detailed concerns about my daughter’s recent behavior, safety, and overall health, she raised potential options including a 5150 psychiatric hold, which raised my concerns."

He also said, "Ms. Montgomery acknowledged that many of my daughter's statements at the last hearing were not true and attributed her statements to the fact that my daughter is 'mentally sick.'"

In the filing, Jamie Spears appeared to be building an argument to retain his position as main conservator and to have more access to his daughter's personal information. He said his hands were tied regarding her mental health because "he no longer had access or insight into any of his daughter’s medical information."

The singer's 13-year conservatorship was the subject of a New York Times documentary, "Framing Britney Spears," that aired in February. It highlighted the legal arrangement in which she has virtually no control over her income and has little say in major aspects of her life.

She has claimed that he has committed "abuse" under the conservatorship.

The documentary stoked a "Free Britney" movement that is calling for an end to her conservatorship, which was prompted by her bizarre behavior in 2007, including attacking a photographer's vehicle with an umbrella.

On July 14, a judge granted her request to hire her own attorney in her attempt to overturn the conservatorship. Sounding like she was crying, she told the court by phone that her father had taken away her driver’s license and vitamins and limited what foods she could eat on certain days.

“I’m here to get rid of my dad and charge him with conservatorship abuse,” she said.

She has also produced a sideshow of sorts, using Instagram to publish cryptic statements and topless video selfies.

In Friday's filing, Jamie Spears argued that he's "dutifully and faithfully served as the Conservator of his daughter’s Estate without any blemishes on his record."

Montgomery, speaking through Wright, repeatedly questioned Jamie Spears' honesty Friday, saying, for example, that his claim Montgomery had committed Britney Spears to "a facility" in 2019 was not only untrue, but that her admittance to a facility was done at the behest of her psychiatrist and Jamie Spears himself.

Wright's statement did not address the claim that Britney Spears was not taking her "medications," but said, "Due to medical privacy, Ms. Montgomery cannot go into those concerns with any further detail except to say that having her father Jamie Spears continuing to serve as her Conservator instead of a neutral professional fiduciary is having a serious impact on Ms. Spears’ mental health."

Wright said Jamie Spears was trying to "gain some sort of tactical advantage in the pending proceedings to remove him as Conservator."

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