By Andrew Dalton, Associated Press
Britney Spears’ father said in a court filing that there are “no grounds whatsoever” for removing him from the conservatorship that controls her money and affairs.
James Spears “has dutifully and faithfully served as the conservator of his daughter’s estate without any blemishes on his record”, the filing said.
James Spears’ filing also says that court-appointed professional Jodi Montgomery, who oversees Britney Spears’ life decisions while her father handles her money, called him, distraught, last month and sought his help with his daughter’s mental health struggles.
Ms Montgomery and her lawyer said in response that James Spears “misrepresented and manipulated” the call to use it to his own advantage.
James Spears’ filing came in response to court papers filed a day earlier by Britney Spears’ new lawyer Matthew Rosengart, which requested an emergency hearing as soon as possible to suspend him from the conservatorship.
James Spears said Mr Rosengart “does not (and cannot) specify what the wrongdoing is” to prompt such a suspension.
James Spears stepped aside from the part of the conservatorship that controls his daughter’s life decisions in 2019, with Ms Montgomery taking over, though her official status remains temporary.
The allegations made by Britney Spears at hearings in June and July that seem to have spurred Mr Rosengart’s call for her father’s removal, including “serious allegations regarding forced medical treatment and therapy, improper medical care, and limitations on personal rights”, are “untested” and involve issues that have long been Ms Montgomery’s responsibility, not his, said Jamie Spears’ filing.
James Spears says the call for his urgent removal is “ironic” considering the call he received from Ms Montgomery on July 9.
“Ms Montgomery sounded very distraught and expressed how concerned she was about my daughters’ recent behaviour and overall mental health,” James Spears said in a personal declaration included with his court filing.
“Ms Montgomery explained that my daughter was not timely or properly taking her medications, was not listening to the recommendations of her medical team, and refused to even see some of her doctors.
“Ms Montgomery said she was very worried about the direction my daughter was heading in and directly asked for my help to address these issues.”
James Spears said they discussed the possibility of admitting Britney Spears to hospital on an emergency psychiatric hold.
Ms Montgomery acknowledged, in a statement through her lawyer Lauriann Wright, having concerns about Britney Spears’ behaviour and mental health, but said James Spears’ stepping down would only help.
The statement said “having her father Jamie Spears continuing to serve as her Conservator instead of a neutral professional fiduciary is having a serious impact on Ms Spears’ mental health”.
At no time during the phone call did Ms Montgomery suggest Britney Spears qualifies for psychiatric detention, the statement said.
Ms Montgomery reached out to Jamie Spears because she was concerned that an investigation of Britney Spears’ allegations, which he was seeking, would be harmful to her.
“The concern that Ms Montgomery did raise to Mr Spears during their telephone call is that forcing Ms Spears to take the stand to testify or to have her evaluated would move the needle in the wrong direction for her mental health,” the statement said.
Ms Montgomery was “saddened” that the call “is now being misrepresented and manipulated” by James Spears “to gain some sort of tactical advantage in the pending proceedings to remove him.”
The fighting between those involved in the conservatorship has grown increasingly heated, and increasingly public, since Spears’ dramatic evidence at a hearing on June 23, when she told a judge: “I just want my life back.”
A hearing to address Mr Rosengart’s petition to remove James Spears is scheduled for September 29, unless the judge grants his request to hold one sooner.