Britney Spears' hiatus from performing will continue for as long as her father continues to run her affairs, the star's lawyer warned in a court hearing Tuesday. "My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father. She also stated that she will not perform as long as her father is in charge of her career," Samuel D. Ingham III said, per US Weekly. "We are really at a crossroads." James Spears, the 38-year-old's father, was appointed in 2008 to be her conservator after she had a series of public breakdowns. He temporarily stepped aside due to ill health last year. Spears is seeking to have his temporary replacement, licensed conservator Jodi Montgomery, made permanent.
Ingham, who called Spears a "high-functioning conservatee," said she hadn't spoken to her father in a long time. He said Jamie Spears had failed to inform his daughter of moves including appointing a new business manager. Spears was not present in person or remotely at the hearing in Los Angeles, where fans in #FreeBritney face masks protested outside, the AP reports. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny declined to suspend the father from his role in the conservatorship, though she said she would consider future petitions for his removal. In court filings, Jamie Spears' attorneys said his "sole motivation has been his unconditional love for his daughter and a fierce desire to protect her from those trying to take advantage of her." (The ACLU says it is ready to help Spears.)