Britney Spears case returns to court with father’s role at stake

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LOS ANGELES, Sept.29 (Reuters) – The Britney Spears case returns to court on Wednesday after a summer of surprises, shocking allegations, commitments and mounting expectations that the 13-year legal arrangement that controls the singer’s life will soon end.

After years of glacial progress, the past two months have seen “Circus” singer’s father, Jamie Spears, make a surprise request to end his guardianship, and Spears, 39, get engaged to her boyfriend from long time.

A documentary alleged the singer’s phone and room were bugged, and Spears’ attorney is demanding that Jamie Spears be suspended as custodian of the singer’s $ 60 million estate.

It was unclear how many things will be discussed at Wednesday’s Los Angeles Superior Court hearing or whether Judge Brenda Penny will make any immediate decisions.

Mathew Rosengart, the singer’s lawyer, has insisted in court records that Jamie Spears be immediately removed from his duties as curator and that a transition period be agreed so that the increasingly controversial tutelage can be terminated before the end of the year.

Jamie Spears has controlled his daughter’s affairs since 2008, when he placed her under guardianship following a nervous breakdown. Court-approved guardianship dictates his personal, medical and financial affairs, but the nature of his mental condition has never been revealed.

In court documents ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, Rosengart said Jamie Spears had “crossed unfathomable lines” by monitoring his daughter’s calls, emails and texts, including messages to his former lawyer, and by placing a listening device in his room.

The claims were made in a New York Times documentary, “Controlling Britney Spears,” released last week. Britney Spears appeared perplexed by the film.

“I have to say I’ve scratched my head a few times !!! I’m really trying to disassociate myself from the drama !!!” she commented in an Instagram post on Monday. “Number one is the past !!!. Number two, can the dialogue get classier ???”

Jamie Spears said his actions fell within his authority as a curator. He rejected calls to step down, saying an experienced hand is needed during a period of transition from tutelage to a regular business owner.

Spears stepped up her efforts in June to break free from guardianship, telling the judge in her first public comments that she found it abusive and demeaning.

Public support for him has grown and some restrictions Spears complained about have been relaxed. She can now drive her own car and has said she has her first iPad.

Two weeks ago, she announced her engagement to Sam Asghari, 27, her personal trainer boyfriend for over four years. They hope to marry soon after negotiating a prenuptial agreement.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Richard Chang and Cynthia Osterman


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