Sat, 21 May 2022

Washington [US], January 20 (ANI): While Grammy-winning singer Britney Spears' conservatorship battle may have ended, the legal fight continues after a Los Angeles judge agreed that there should be a separate trial to determine if the singer's father Jamie Spears spied on her and squandered her millions.

At a hearing in Los Angeles court on Wednesday, the pop star's attorney, Mathew Rosengart, accused Jamie's attorney of avoiding claims that Jamie ordered Britney's security team, Black Box, to illegally access the singer's cell and iCloud accounts, and placed a device to eavesdrop on her in her bedroom, reported Page Six.

Los Angeles Judge Brenda Penny, however, has not made a decision regarding Britney's father Jamie's request for her to continue paying his legal fees after the termination of her conservatorship.

Before discussing the fees during the court hearing on Wednesday, Jamie's lawyer, Alex M. Weingarten, tangled with Britney's lawyer, Rosengart, over allegations Britney made against her father in a court filing first reported by the New York Times on Tuesday.

Weingarten accused Rosengart of planting the story with the Times, calling Britney's accusations "nonsense".

"Virtually everything that is alleged is ... fake or taken out of context," said Weingarten, referring to Britney's claims that Jamie bugged her bedroom, tapped her phone and tried to obtain private therapy reports.

Weingarten added that there is "sealed" information about Britney's case that would "demonstrate that there is no evidence to these allegations." Rosengart hit back, telling the court that he feels "compelled to respond to these false statements [and] lies.""I'm not deciding what's right and what's wrong today," said Penny about the allegations. No decision was made about legal fees for Jamie, Britney's mother Lynne or the pop star's former lawyers on Wednesday, but Penny did approve a payment for Spears' former conservator Jodi Montgomery's legal fees.

On Wednesday, Britney's estate, now managed by Miller Kaplan, was also transferred over to her, with previous temporary conservator John Zabel no longer in place.

Weingarten also asked the judge to file a motion to unseal Britney's health records next month, saying that the "public has the right to know" more context.

Rosengart, however, asked Judge Penny to hold off on the motion until April 15 so he has time to prepare a response.

As per People magazine, Jamie first filed court documents demanding that the star's estate make payments to his legal team for "ongoing fiduciary duties relating to the winding up of the Conservatorship of the Person and Estate" in December, just over a month after Penny decided to end the 13-year-long conservatorship.

In response, Britney alleged in her recent court documents that Jamie's financial misconduct during his tenure as her conservator put him in violation of California's standards of conduct.

Rosengart claimed in the filing that at the same time that Britney's conservatorship was established in 2008, Jamie had owed Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, a business management firm run by Lou M. Taylor, at least USD 40,000. The recent filing also included a declaration by Sherine Ebadi, an investigator at Kroll and former F.B.I. agent retained by Britney's legal team to investigate Jamie's management of the estate.

In it, Ebadi corroborated the claims made by former Black Box Security employee Alex Vlasov in The New York Times documentary 'Controlling Britney Spears' that Jamie had the firm monitor Britney's phone, including private communications with her lawyer, and secretly record her in her bedroom during conversations with her now-fiance Sam Asghari and her children (she shares sons Sean Preston, 16, and Jayden James, 15, with ex-husband Kevin Federline).

Additionally, Ebadi alleged that Jamie would ask Black Box to send him "specific items from Ms Spears's iCloud, such as therapy notes or text message," despite being "aware that he was expressly prohibited" from doing so without Britney's permission.

Along with surveilling Britney, Ebadi said that Vlasov claimed that the company had obtained private phone records from Britney's mother, Lynne, and others, including Britney's masseuse, to determine if they were speaking to the media.

Though Britney's conservatorship was terminated last fall, it may take months before an agreement can be reached, with the attorneys still fighting over whether the singer must pay legal bills incurred by her father when he was in charge of her finances.

The next major hearing in the case was set for July 27. A separate hearing was set for March 16, regarding Rosengart's objections to attorney fees requested by the lawyers for the star's mother Lynne Spears.

Judge Brenda Penny said both sides will have the opportunity to argue over the eavesdropping issue and the estate's accounting during an evidentiary hearing that will take place in another courtroom.

The mini-trial, which is scheduled for July, could take several days, the judge said. (ANI)

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