Britney Spears’ battle with her dad is heading to trial

Britney Spears will soon regain her full fortune as she heads for a trial against her father.

In a heated hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday, attorneys for the pop star and her father Jamie Spears clashed over whether she should regain full control of her estimated $60 million empire. and if Jamie had placed a listening device in his room.

The only thing they could agree on was that an evidentiary hearing was necessary. Judge Brenda Penny agreed, saying she hoped they could complete the discovery within the next six months so she could move them to a courtroom with a hearing set for July 27.

In a heated exchange, Britney’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, accused Jamie’s lawyer, Alex Weingarten, of evading the question of “whether or not his client knew about my client’s wiretapping. “, including “the placement of a listening device in my client’s bedroom”. .”

“That didn’t happen, your honor,” Weingarten retorted, cutting Rosengart off after alleging earlier in the hearing that Rosengart may have “planted” the listening device story in the New York Times.

“He just made shameful accusations and he should be ashamed. He says it didn’t happen? Let’s see what Mr. Spears says under oath when he’s deposed,” Rosengart said.

Speaking to Rolling Stone after the hearing, Rosengart said the surveillance issue “is directly related to whether Mr. Spears would be entitled to additional money.”

Lawyers also sparred on Wednesday over a request that part of Britney’s financial fortune remain in a reserve account until the scheduled trial resolves the amount that Jamie, his lawyers and various other people still seeking payment related to his recently terminated conservatorship should receive.

Rosengart argued that his client deserved full access to his funds and had no intention of “dissipate assets in order to avoid any court injunction. “The money doesn’t go to a Swiss bank account, but it’s his money,” he said.

“Let us remember why this conservatorship existed in the first place, because Ms Spears was irresponsible with, among other things, her money. Whether his money will be available or not is relevant,” Weingarten replied, leading Rosengart to call his comment “highly inappropriate.”

“Let’s not go down that road,” Judge Penny said before clearing the way for all assets still in custody to be transferred to Britney herself. “I’m not going to order a reserve.”

Before the end of the afternoon hearing, Weingarten said Jamie planned to file a motion to “unseal” the guardianship records so he could “clear himself” of the “demonstrably false” charges. “We’re asking that the public actually get the truth,” Weingarten said.

“We don’t think a father who loves his daughter is going to decide to unseal her health records in order to defend his own reputation,” Rosengart replied, calling the proposed motion “ethically, morally and legally inappropriate.”

The pop star was released from her nearly 14-year-old conservatorship on November 12 after smashing the doors of the legal settlement with back-to-back statements to Judge Penny in June and July. In her live speeches heard around the world, the ‘Toxic’ singer said her guardianship, largely controlled by her father, was ‘cruel’ and ‘abusive’ as it dictated her finances, healthcare and personal life. for most of his adult life. .

Once she hired Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, she launched an aggressive campaign to investigate allegations that her father mismanaged his millions and used “bullying conduct” to keep her in line.

She and Rosengart have hired accounting and intelligence firm Kroll for a forensic review of the controversial conservatorship, and last Friday filed new documents summarizing the investigation so far. In an affidavit, Kroll executive Sherine Ebadi, a former FBI agent, said she found a “pattern of misconduct” that raises possible “criminal implications.”

Most notably, she said she personally debriefed former Britney security staffer Alex Vlasov at the Bel-Air Hotel and found him “very believable.” Vlasov is the whistleblower who has already told the New York Times that her former boss Edan Yemini, CEO of Black Box Security, placed a secret listening device in Britney’s bedroom in 2016 and used surveillance technology that captured the singer’s privileged communications with her lawyer.

“Mr. Vlasov regularly overheard Mr. Yemini informing Mr. Spears about the contents of the telephone devices used by his daughter,” Ebadi wrote in his statement.

“Mr. Yemenis and Black Box have always conducted themselves within professional, ethical and legal boundaries, and they take particular pride in their work to keep Ms. Spears safe for many years,” the civil attorney for Yemini, Shawn Holley. rolling stone.

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