Britney Spears’ dad Jamie gets new lawyer after conservatorship ousting
Information about Britney Spears’ dad Jamie gets new lawyer after conservatorship ousting
Court documents filed in the pop star’s conservatorship case show that Jamie Spears, 69, is no longer represented by his former attorney Vivian L. Thoreen and the law firm Holland & Knight LLP. Jamie’s longtime attorney signed paperwork on Oct. 19 that lists her as Jamie’s “former legal representative.” She added the name of the law firm to the document in her own handwriting, confirming they’re no longer working with the singer’s embattled father.
A second filing also confirms Jamie is no longer represented by attorney Geraldine A. Wyle of Freeman, Freeman & Smiley, LLP, also based in Los Angeles.
The documents show that Los Angeles-based attorney Alex M. Weingarten of Willie Farr & Gallagher LLP has stepped in as Jamie’s new counsel.
Thoreen, Wyle and Weingarten did not immediately return Fox News’ requests for comment. The substitution of attorneys comes just weeks after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny suspended Jamie from overseeing the conservatorship that has held a firm grip on the singer’s life for over a dozen years.
Judge Penny heard arguments from Britney and Jamie’s side and ultimately ruled that effective immediately “suspension is in the best interests of Britney Spears.”
“The current situation is not tenable,” she added before also ordering that control of all of Britney’s assets be turned over to a court-appointed temporary conservator – a certified public accountant named John Zabel. Judge Penny further maintained that her ruling is not appealable.
Some are wondering if Mathew Rosengart‘s previous voiced intentions of investigating Jamie could have led to the sudden substitution of his lawyers. Rosengart, who has been representing Britney since July, confirmed in a statement to Fox News last month that he plans to investigate Jamie’s alleged mishandling of the 39-year-old singer’s finances.
“Having exposed his misconduct and improper plan to hold his daughter hostage by trying to extract a multi-million-dollar settlement, Mr. Spears has now effectively surrendered. There is no settlement,” Rosengart said shortly after Jamie filed a petition to end her 13-year-long conservatorship.
“To the extent Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, he is incorrect and our investigation into financial mismanagement and other issues will continue,” Rosengart added.
Despite the substitution, an insider claimed to Page Six that Jamie and Thoreen “remain in close touch during the transition.”
Britney’s attorney didn’t mince words in his defense of the pop star and told the court that Jamie should have been removed as conservator of her estate long ago.
Britney’s camp has consistently claimed that Jamie is seeking some $2 million on his way out – a portion of which is likely to land in the hands of his attorneys and her former business manager, Tri-Star.
Meanwhile, the source also told Page Six that Holland & Knight simply wanted to wipe their hands with Jamie as a client because they allegedly didn’t want to represent a “suspended conservator” despite Jamie’s court admission that he will bow out of the conservatorship once a proper “plan is in place.”
“[Continuing to represent Jamie] puts all [Holland & Knight’s] fees even more at stake,” the insider explained, per the outlet. “They don’t want to fund this anymore because when you represent a suspended conservator it makes it much more likely that fees you’ve already obtained could be disgorged and future fees may not be paid from the estate, but rather would have to be paid from Jamie.”
The close connection further claimed: “When Britney’s lawyer did not file to terminate after multiple hearings at which Britney pleaded with the court to terminate the conservatorship, it was her father Jamie who stepped up and filed to terminate in support his daughter’s wishes.”
During his Sept. 29 court defense of Britney, Rosengart said his pop star client “wants, needs and deserves an orderly transition” and further argued that she “has been abused by this man for the last decade and since her childhood.”
Following the hearing, Rosengart exited the courthouse to cheers from the large crowd gathered outside and fielded questions from reporters about what Jamie and the public can expect in the coming months.
Spears’ birthday is Dec. 2 and a common theme among #FreeBritney supporters was the idea of seeing their pop queen “free by 40.”
“Jamie and others are going to face even more serious ramifications for his misconduct,” said Rosengart.
Asked if Jamie will be charged over alleged listening devices, the litigator kicked that answer to law enforcement, however, he did maintain that: “one question we will ask [Jamie’s] reps is what did they know and when did they know it about eavesdropping listening devices under her bed in her bedroom something that is very, very troubling but that’s for law enforcement, not me to make the ultimate conclusion.”
“Britney Spears testified under oath about James Spears cruelty and toxic presence in her life,” he told the judge. “There’s a mountain of evidence mandating his suspension.”
Jamie had been in control of Spears’ finances since 2008 after she underwent a series of involuntary holds following a public spectacle that saw her shave her head in front of the paparazzi