In light of allegations that Britney Spears was under surveillance with her conservators monitoring her phone and bugging her home, the pop star’s attorney has filed a supplemental motion to remove and suspend her father, Jamie Spears, from her conservatorship.
In the new court filing, the singer’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart, calls for the immediate suspension of Spears’ father “no later than” this week’s hearing on Sept. 29, followed by the “prompt termination” of the conservatorship.
The filing points to reporting by The New York Times, which, over the weekend, broke the news that Spears was allegedly being closely monitored by a security firm that was hired by her father without her knowledge. The report said that Spears’ father and the singer’s former business managers, Lou Taylor and Robin Greenhill of Tri Star Sports and Entertainment, ran an intense surveillance apparatus that tracked Spears’ communications, secretly capturing audio recordings from her bedroom, which included private conservations with her children.
The New York Times’ latest documentary, “Controlling Britney Spears,” which debuted on Friday, highlighted these allegations through an on-camera interview with Alex Vlasov, a former employee of Black Box Security, who served as the assistant to the head of the security firm, Edan Yemini.
(Yemini declined to comment when the Times reached out with a detailed list of allegations, though his attorney provided the publication with a statement: “Mr. Yemini and Black Box have always conducted themselves within professional, ethical and legal bounds, and they are particularly proud of their work in keeping Ms. Spears safe for many years.”)
Rosengart’s filing on Monday calls for an investigation of the claims, stating that Spears’ father allegedly “engaged in horrifying and unconscionable invasions of his adult daughter’s privacy.”
California, where Spears’ home was allegedly bugged, is a two-party consent state — meaning it would be illegal for Spears’ phone to be tracked without her consent.
In a statement obtained by Variety, Rosengart says, “Unauthorized recording or monitoring of Britney’s private communications — especially attorney-client communications, which are a sacrosanct part of the legal system — represent an unconscionable and disgraceful violation of her privacy rights and a striking example of the deprivation of her civil liberties.”
“Placing a listening device in Britney’s bedroom would be particularly horrifying, and corroborates so much of her compelling, poignant testimony,” Rosengart’s statement continues. “Mr. Spears has crossed unfathomable lines.”
Rosengart says there is “overwhelming evidence” to remove Spears’ father, noting Spears’ “powerful and poignant” testimony on June 23, in which she said her conservatorship was “abusive.” The filing says reasons for suspension range from “lack of financial acumen, to his bankruptcy, to his reported alcoholism, to the trauma he caused his daughter since her childhood, to the Domestic Violence Restraining Order recently issued against him.”
He says the singer pleads that “regardless of when the conservatorship ends, Mr. Spears must be suspended now.” He doubles down on his client’s promise not to work until her father is removed, stating that “every day and every hour” that he remains the conservator of her estate causes Spears “anguish and pain.”
“Ms. Spears will no longer be bullied or extorted, nor will she further tolerate her father’s abuse, with its apparent misogynistic underpinnings,” the filing says.
Earlier this month, Spears’ father suddenly petitioned to terminate the conservatorship — a major change of heart, after he has been atop his daughter’s conservatorship since 2008, controlling all of the financial decisions for her estate.
It’s unclear if this week’s hearing, scheduled for Sept. 29, will address the termination of the conservatorship altogether or if it will solely focus on the role of Spears’ father.
Over the weekend, the filmmakers behind the Hulu and FX documentary, “Controlling Britney Spears,” which exposed the surveillance allegations, spoke to Variety about their reporting. “To have someone come forward with proof was so revealing and helps us understand how so much of what Britney said in court in June could be true,” said producer Liz Day. “It’s hard to understand how that could happen to one of the most famous people on the planet.”