Saying "the current situation is not tenable," a Los Angeles judge replaced Britney Spears' father as conservator of her estate on Wednesday at the singer's request. Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny suspended Jamie Spears from the role controlling his daughter's $60 million estate after 13 years, the Wall Street Journal reports. He had fought to stay as conservator, then recently changed his mind and asked the judge to remove him. The judge's decision touched off a celebration by fans waiting outside the courthouse.
The hearing was not amiable. Mathew Rosengart, Britney Spears' attorney, called her father "a cruel, toxic, abusive man." The singer has said similar things. Rosengart added an allegation that was included in a court filing this week, citing New York Times reporting. "We learned Mr. Spears did something unfathomable," Rosengart said, per CNN. "He instructed [a] security team, paid for by my client, to place a listening device in Britney's bedroom." Vivian Thoreen, Jamie Spears' lawyer, answered, "It's not evidence, it’s rhetoric." In making her ruling, the judge called the conservatorship "a toxic environment."
Fans began a rally hours before the hearing on the streets outside. They marched, sang "Toxic" and other Spears hit songs, and chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, the conservatorship has got to go!" Speakers told the crowd about their experiences with abusive conservatorships, per the AP. "We're hoping for a big change today," said a fan who had traveled from Phoenix. Penny named John Zabel as conservator on a temporary basis. Another hearing will be held to consider ending the conservatorship; that could happen before the end of the year. (Read more Britney Spears stories.)