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Judge Grants Request To Remove Jamie Spears As Britney Spears' Conservator


For the first time in 13 years, Britney Spears will be able to live her life without the legal oversight of her father, Jamie Spears. This afternoon, in a Los Angeles courtroom, a judge granted a request from the pop star's lawyer to remove her father from his role. Britney Spears had accused her father of exploiting her, but the conservatorship has not been terminated just yet. Judge Brenda J. Penny decided that a certified public accountant will temporarily step into the role.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco has been inside the courtroom this afternoon and joins us now with an update.

Hey, Mandalit.


FADEL: So we know now that Jamie Spears has been removed from his role as conservator after motions from her lawyer, Mathew Rosengart. So was Britney Spears in the courtroom, Mandalit? And did she finally get what she wanted?

DEL BARCO: Well, she was not in the courtroom, but her attorney was. And apparently, she did get what she wanted. Mathew Rosengart - he's a former federal prosecutor - he made a plea, a very passionate plea, to the judge, saying my client is begging the court to immediately suspend my father from being my conservator and to, quote, "end this Kafkaesque nightmare." And he quoted Britney Spears saying that her father's relationship with her was toxic, abusive and cruel - words that he repeated many times - abusive since her childhood. And the judge agreed that it was toxic.

You know, Spears - Britney Spears had very much wanted him removed from being the conservator of her estate - that means, you know, in charge of her money and her business decisions. And that's a different role from the - being the conservator of her person, in charge of her health and well-being. That person is going to be - continue to be who it was before for now.

But, you know, Jamie Spears had a lot of control about what Britney was able to do, how much she had to work and how she spent her money. And, you know, during this trial - during this hearing, her lawyer brought up the Hulu documentary from The New York Times, in which there were allegations that James Spears had planted a listening device in her bedroom to listen to her most intimate conversations with her children, her boyfriend and her court-appointed lawyer before.

FADEL: So, not so long ago, Jamie Spears filed his own motion to remove himself from his role as conservator. Does today's decision mean that he also got what he wanted?

DEL BARCO: Well, yes and no. I mean, his lawyer - Jamie Spears' lawyer wanted or argued that the termination should happen now, that he should be terminated immediately. And he had filed documents over the summer stating that he was willing to leave. But he didn't accept any fault or blame or anything. He argued that he was always acting in her best interest. And he said he would leave, like, when the timing was right. And, you know, no matter what, his - Britney's lawyer made it clear that he intends to perform a forensic investigation of how her income and wealth were managed.

FADEL: So what happens with the conservatorship now?

DEL BARCO: Well, both sides agreed that the conservatorship should be terminated, and the judge set a hearing for that for November 12. So November 12, we should know if there is a conservatorship at all for Britney Spears.

FADEL: In the few seconds we have left - I can hear you're outside the courthouse, and I know many of Britney's supporters are gathered there. Can you tell us about the mood out there?

DEL BARCO: Well, there are quite a number of people. And they're actually still here, even after the court has ended - court hearing has ended. They're still out here. There were a number of people saying, you know, they wanted - they were supporting Britney Spears - free Britney Spears. And they were so excited to hear that her father's no longer going to be in control of her life. And when she wakes up tomorrow, she will be free.

FADEL: NPR's Mandalit del Barco, thank you so much.

DEL BARCO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.