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Britney Spears' mom says pop star can care for herself, should pick her own lawyer

Lynne Spears’ motion to the court was filed on the same day that her daughter’s court-appointed counsel, Samuel D. Ingham III, said he was resigning.
/ Source: NBC News

Lawyers for Lynne Spears, the mother of Britney Spears, filed a motion on Tuesday saying her daughter was well enough to take care of herself and should have permission to retain her own attorney to handle her conservatorship case.

The petition filed on behalf of Lynn Spears to the Los Angeles County Superior Court called into question the claims that Britney Spears had a reduced capacity to handle her own affairs, which has allowed the conservatorship to continue for so long.

The filing cited the fact that Britney Spears has performed multiple shows, produced multiple albums and gone on tour since her 2008 conservatorship was put into place.

“Now, and for the past many years, Conservatee is able to care for her person and in fact has, inside 0f the parameters of this conservatorship, earned literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity… Her capacity is certainly different today than it was in 2008, and Conservatee should no longer be held to the 2008 standard, whereby she was found to 'not have the capacity to retain counsel,'” the motion said.

Ron Galella Archive - File Photos 2010
Britney Spears and mother Lynne Spears attend the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards Pre-Party Hosted by Clive Davis on Feb. 22, 2000 at Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty

The motion asked to court to respect her daughter's wishes to pick her own lawyer to handle her conservatorship case, as Britney Spears stated herself to the court on June 23. During that testimony, Britney Spears said she was not aware she could petition to end the conservatorship and asked the court to allow her more power in her case.

“This Motion to Appoint Private Counsel is of the utmost importance and may very well impact each and every of the other requests submitted by Conservatee in her live testimony at the June 23 Hearing,” Lynne Spears’ motion said.

Lynne Spears’ motion was filed on the same day that her daughter’s court-appointed counsel, Samuel D. Ingham III, told the court he would resign. Britney Spears testified that Ingham advised her against speaking out about her feelings regarding the 13-year conservatorship, which she described as abusive and isolating.

2017 Radio Disney Music Awards
Spears, her mother, and one of her sons sit in the audience at the 2017 Radio Disney Music Awards.Image Group LA / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Jodi Montgomery, who was appointed as Britney Spears' temporary conservator-of-the-person in September 2019, also filed a submission to the court Wednesday supporting the right for Britney Spears to retain her own counsel.

Montgomery proposed that the state appoint Britney Spears a temporary Guardian ad Litem, who would help her choose her own attorney, according to the filing.

The motion said that Montgomery "believes that a Guardian ad Litem for this limited purpose is the only way to both honor [Britney Spears'] wish to select counsel without a medical evaluation and protect her interests."

Montgomery also said that Britney Spears has repeatedly and consistently asked for her help to retain a new attorney. Her filing included screenshots of what appear to be redacted text messages between her and Britney Spears, though the contact at the top of the messages is referred to as "Jane Doe."

"Getting you a new attorney, by filing with the court is the best legal approach," one of Mongtomery's messages said. "Your dad has excellent attorneys. and you should too."

"I need u to stay as my co conservator of person," a message purportedly from the singer read. "I'm asking u for ur assistance in getting a new attorney."

Ingham's is the third resignation from Britney Spears' team in the last week. Her longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, sent a resignation letter to Spears' co-conservators Montgomery and James "Jamie" Spears, her father.

Attorneys for Jamie Spears declined to comment to NBC News Wednesday.

Bessemer Trust, the financial and wealth management group appointed as a co-conservator in Britney Spears' case, also filed a petition asking to resign. The motion, filed Thursday, cited Britney Spears' testimony that she wanted to have control over her life again.

Bessemer said it entered into the conservatorship because it "relied on the representations of the parties that the ongoing Conservatorship was voluntary." But Bessemer is now aware that Britney Spears "objects to the continuance of her Conservatorship and desires to terminate the Conservatorship," and the company respects her wishes, the filing said.

Britney Spears began the process to remove her father from her conservatorship last year, when Ingham said she was afraid of her father and would refuse to perform if he was in control of her guardianship. The court denied Britney Spears' request but assigned Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator. Jamie Spears has repeatedly denied any allegations of abuse.

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