For those who've been following the 'Free Britney' movement (which has seen fans petitioning for the singer to be freed from her conservatorship contract, in which she has no control over her finances), the most recent development in the trial has reportedly seen the singer's lawyer describe her mental state as "comatose".
According to a new report from TMZ, Britney's legal representative, Sam Ingham, told a court judge that the Toxic hitmaker doesn't want to perform again, but that her father, Jamie, is intent on her career continuing.
It's believed that when the judge asked Ingham if Britney would be willing to sign a declaration of her feelings, Ingham said his client lacked the capacity to make such a declaration, likening her to a comatose patient. Ingham, it's reported, was not saying Britney is comatose, but he used the expression as a way of demonstrating her inability to sign a legal document. He added that even comatose patients are able to have their lawyers speak on their behalf.
This statement comes in contrast to the Free Britney promotors, who are advocating for the singer to be able to live an independent life, citing her ability to continuously create music and perform at world tours as evidence of her capabilities.
27 August 2020
We recently reported that Britney Spears asked a Californian court to put a stop to her father's, Jamie Spears, role as her legal guardian (which sees him have control over all her finances, schedule and more), and have those responsibilities handed over to an outside, professional source on a full-time basis.
Currently, Jamie has stepped back from his role due to health issues and the reigns were handed over to Jodi Montgomery, who is part of the private firm, Pais Montgomery Fiduciary, who, it was reported last month, the singer now wishes to have permanent control of her conservatorship. Britney’s lawyer Samuel D Ingham III said she is "strongly opposed" to her father resuming his position as head of her affairs, adding that she expects Jamie to "aggressively" contest her application.
Now, it seems that Britney's younger sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, 29, (who has been vocal about defending her sibling's health issues on social media) is also taking a more active role in managing the pop icon's finances. The LA Times report that in a court filing last week, Jamie Lynn was named as trustee of the estate set up to protect Britney's children financially in the event of her death, and is requesting that all of those assets be consolidated into accounts wherein she is the custodian.
Fans of the 'Free Britney' movement are taking this as a good sign, that another family member (perhaps who is closer to Britney) is stepping in. A recent hearing to discuss the conservatorship was postponed, reportedly after fans kept hacking into the private Zoom link, and a court ruled that it was to be extended until "the conclusion of the pandemic".
In the meantime, a petition seeking the attention of Congress – calling upon them to intervene on Britney's behalf – has gained over 120,000 signatures.
To offer up a quick recap of the whole 'Free Britney' movement: it started when fans of the legendary singer Britney Spears became increasingly concerned about her legal guardianship contract, which sees her father Jamie Spears have complete control of her finances and decision-making. The movement (and subsequent popular hashtag on social media) was initially started by a podcast called Britney's Gram and a blog by Anthony Elia, which has since been shut down by Britney's team.
Her father's legal team allegedly wrote in documentation when attempting to sue Anthony for defamation, "It's time for the conspiracy theories about Britney Spears' well-being and the mob #FreeBritney movement to stop... Over the past few months, Britney and her father Jamie have sat by while fans have accused them of numerous false and malicious things, including attempts to mislead the public with the content that appears on her social media."
Now, Britney's mother, Lynne, has reportedly filed new legal documents asking to receive special notice on “all matters” pertaining to Britney’s income and assets, making it clear that she too wants a say in how the star's $59m fortune is used and protected. Vanity Fair reported that she also liked comments from fans suggesting the conservatorship is an infringement on Britney's rights.
A video that Britney, 38, uploaded to Instagram earlier this year saw her tell fans that her gym had burned down after she'd left candles unattended. Her page has also been flooded with thousands of concerned comments after she posted a video of her ankle snapping while dancing during lockdown and several clips of her walking around or dancing in her mansion. Many have posted saying they're worried about her mental health.
The SJB Revocable Trust was set up in 2004 by Britney in order to protect her money and assets, plus protect her children's, Sean and Jayden, inheritance (Britney reportedly has about 30% of the shared custody of them, the rest of the time the boys spend with their father, Kevin Federline).
However, her name was reportedly removed as a trustee when she was placed under conservatorship in 2008, after she publicly experienced a mental health breakdown, and the court appointed "temporary successors of the trust".
The arrangement saw the singer relinquish all legal control over her estate, financial and personal assets. Instead those rights have been granted to her father and legal team.
Typically, a contract such as this is reserved for severely mentally incapacitated people, but fans are arguing that since 2008 she has been on world tours, completed a Vegas residency and released new music, therefore proving she's capable of living an independent life once more.
However, in October 2018, Britney announced a second Vegas residency, but it was later cancelled – she said due to her father’s sudden poor health. It was later reported that Britney had also checked into a mental health facility.
Supporters of the #FreeBritney movement are adamant that Britney has been manipulated, is being controlled by her father and should have greater autonomy over her own life. However, other sources report that she is already heavily involved in any decision-making and that she is happy with the arrangement.
Recent documents show that in 2018, the singer spent $400,000 on living expenses, $66,000 on household supplies and $1.1 million on her legal and conservator fees. Her father made $128,000 from his involvement, according to ET. In September 2019, Britney's father was accused (and then cleared) of hitting her eldest son, Sean. The police report was filed by Kevin Federline.
A petition (which has been signed by over 184,000 people) has been created with the aim of getting Britney her own lawyer. Many are saying her being restricted by this contract is a violation of human rights.
Many fans regularly leave comments urging Britney to wear a certain colour in her next video if she needs help, or have written saying their messages of concern have been deleted from underneath her social media posts. Others praise her for being a source of positivity on social media and say they love watching her dancing videos, seeing her pictures of new outfits or flowers.
Britney has been in the limelight since childhood, when she (along with Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake) were part of the Mickey Mouse Club. Many of her hits talk about feeling trapped or the downsides of fame (such as Overprotected and Lucky).
For a video summary on the Free Britney phenomenon, see this post created by Saint Hoax (a popular news and pop culture account with over 2 million followers):
We hope that whatever the outcome of the upcoming hearing is, Britney is well and happy.
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