Attorneys representing Britney Spears have accused her father, Jamie Spears, of ‘potentially criminal conduct’ against the singer during the 13 years he ran the conservatorship that was supposed to protect her.
‘There is significant, serious, incredible and potentially criminal conduct on the part of Mr. Spears,’ the pop star’s attorney Mathew Rosengart told a court in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday.
Rosengart was referring to a New York Times article in which a whistle-blower claimed that a recording device was secretly installed in Britney’s bedroom and her phone calls were monitored.
The attorney accused Jamie of being behind the ‘illegal’ surveillance, which he added, was just one of ’12 categories of misconduct we believe that evidence will prove Mr. Spears engaged in.’
Jamie’s attorney, Alex Weingarten, denied the charge, accusing Rosengart of ‘planting’ the story in the Times and saying his claims were ‘demonstrably false and taken out of context.’
This prompted a heated exchange between the two in which Rosengart pointed a finger at Weingarten and accused him of ‘lying to the court’ and of ‘outrageous and disgusting’ behavior.’
Jamie Spears (left) has been accused of ‘potentially criminal conduct’ against his daughter, Britney Spears (right), during the 13 years he ran the conservatorship that was supposed to protect her
Rosengart is vehemently fighting 69 year-old Jamie’s request to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny to approve payment of attorney fees he ran up as Britney’s conservator before the judge fired him from that $16,000-a-month job last September.
Judge Penny formally ended the much-maligned conservatorship in November but several issues and loose ends – like Jamie’s petition for legal fees and a similar request from the singer’s mother, Lynne – still need to be settled by the judge before Britney, 40, can assume full control of her $60 million fortune.
Jamie denied Rosengart’s claim that he mismanaged his daughter’s finances and profited from the conservatorship.
‘Jamie stepped up to protect his daughter in 2008 and stepped into the role of co-conservator when Britney was unquestionably incapacitated and victimized by persons seeking to take advantage of her incapacity,’ Weingarten said in court documents.
‘As co-conservator, Jamie dedicated himself to protecting his daughter’s health and her estate as he has done her whole life while keeping opportunistic and wholly self-interested parties at bay.’
In court Wednesday, Britney’s attorney Mathew Rosengart (left) alleged ‘there is significant, serious, incredible and potentially criminal conduct on the part of Mr. Spears’. He also accused Jamie (right) of being behind the ‘illegal’ surveillance, which he added, was just one of ’12 categories of misconduct we believe that evidence will prove Mr. Spears engaged in.’
Britney Spears (second left) is pictured at a party in 2006 with her father, Jamie (left), brother Bryan (second from right) and mother Lynne (right)
Weingarten objected to a request that Judge Penny sign an order officially transferring the star’s assets from temporary conservator John Zabel to Britney herself in seven days.
He and other attorneys involved over the years in the controversial conservatorship – who are collectively still owed millions in fees – asked the judge to set up a reserve fund from which the lawyers can be paid.
Weingarten said he and the other attorneys concerned about getting paid, ‘want to make sure the funds are there.’
‘We must remember why the conservatorship was started in the first place – Miss Spears was irresponsible with her money.’
Rosengart objected to a reserve fund being set up, telling the court: ‘These are Miss Spears’ moneys. She has a right to do what she wants with her money.’
He added that any attorney or other party with a claim on the conservatorship can come back to court and seek an order from the judge that it be paid.
Judge Penny agreed and refused to order a reserve fund be set up.
Rosengart – who accused Jamie of taking $6.3million in charges and fees while ‘mismanaging’ Britney’s conservatorship – also lashed out at Weingarten for declaring that he intends to file a motion to unseal the details of the final termination of the conservatorship which were sealed by the judge to protect Britney’s medical and confidential records.
Jamie’s attorney, Alex Weingarten (left), denied the charge, accusing Rosengart of ‘planting’ the story in the newspaper and saying his claims were ‘demonstrably false and taken out of context’. He also accused Britney (right) of having been ‘irresponsible with her money,’ citing that as the reason why her conservatorship was established
Weingarten claimed that within those sealed documents is evidence that would refute Rosengart’s charges that Jamie ordered electronic spying on Britney.
‘This is sealed material that disproves his allegations,’ he told Judge Penny. ‘We want to unseal the record – the public needs to know what happened.’
Calling such an unsealing ‘ethically and morally inappropriate,’ Rosengart blasted Jamie, saying it was ‘regrettable that a father who loves his daughter would unseal her health records.’
And he questioned why Jamie would want to ‘unseal years of records, exposing Britney’s private issues, having already invaded her privacy over the past decade.’
Judge Penny said a date would be determined later for the unsealing motion to be filed but she scheduled a hearing for July 27 for Jamie’s legal fees claims to be heard.
The judge also set a hearing March 16 to hear Lynne Spears’ own request for payment of $660,000 she claims she incurred in dealings with the conservatorship.