Judge Frees Britney Spears From 13-Year Conservatorship

Decision touches off celebration among fans
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 12, 2021 4:45 PM CST
Judge Frees Britney Spears From 13-Year Conservatorship
Rafael Lopez, of Tijuana, Mexico, waves a "Free Britney" flag Friday outside court.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Britney Spears is free. A Los Angeles judge on Friday ended the conservatorship that has controlled the pop star's life and money for nearly 14 years, the AP reports. The decision capped a stunning five-month odyssey that saw Spears publicly demand the end of the conservatorship, hire her own attorney, have her father removed from power, and finally win the freedom to make her own medical, financial, and personal decisions for the first time since 2008. There was little support left for prolonging the legal arrangement, but Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny had offered no clear signals about what she would decide. As recently as last spring, it appeared the conservatorship could continue for years.

"As of today, the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated," Penny announced. Jubilation erupted outside the courthouse, with fans cheering and chanting, "Britney! Britney! Britney!" They also sang and danced to her song, "Stronger." The conservatorship had unraveled with surprising speed. The key was a speech Spears made at a hearing in June when she passionately described the restrictions and scrutiny of her life as abusive. She demanded that the conservatorship end without any prying evaluation of her mental state. Legal experts at the time said that was unlikely to happen.

But a judge allowed her to hire an attorney of her choice, Mathew Rosengart, at a July hearing in which she again complained about the grief the conservatorship caused and demanded that it end. More courtroom battles could lie ahead. Rosengart has vowed to pursue an investigation of James Spears' role in the conservatorship. He said he and his team have found mismanagement of the star's finances. Court records put her net worth at about $60 million. He also said that law enforcement should investigate revelations in a New York Times documentary about a listening device placed in her bedroom. James Spears’ attorneys said that Rosengart's allegations ranged from unsubstantiated to impossible, and that he only acted in his daughter's best interest.

(Read more Britney Spears stories.)

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