Britney Spears’ father said in a new court filing Thursday that he is “very concerned” about the “dangerous rhetoric” around her conservatorship, the legal arrangement that has given him and others control over the pop star’s life and money.
In a document filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Jamie Spears appeared to address the growing public criticism against him as he asked the court to deny a request by Jodi Montgomery, the current conservator of the 39-year-old singer’s personal life, for an order instructing him to use his daughter’s money to pay for Montgomery’s security expenses.
Public interest in the Spears case was reignited in February when the New York Times released the documentary Framing Britney Spears, which questioned the control that Jamie has continued to hold over his daughter’s financial and physical well-being.
Last month, Britney Spears made international headlines when she derided the court-mandated arrangement as “abusive” in a public court hearing, saying that it has prevented her from exercising a wide range of innate rights, like riding in her boyfriend’s car and getting her IUD removed so she can have another baby.
Her comments invigorated fans who have been rallying to #FreeBritney — and lock up Jamie — and sparked outcry across the world. Political leaders, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, are now questioning the country’s conservatorship systems, while fans and others lodge attacks against the Spears family. Just last month, talk show host Wendy Williams cried “death to them all” in her reaction to the singer’s testimony.
In his Thursday filing, Jamie Spears made clear the scrutiny and rhetoric has made him afraid.
“Mr. Spears is very concerned about the situation that has been developing for many months and the dangerous rhetoric that has been circulating for quite some time regarding the Conservatorship,” his attorneys wrote.
Jamie, who has been in charge of his daughter’s estate throughout the conservatorship, is no stranger to the “threatening communications” that Montgomery cited as reasons for needing 24/7 physical security, his attorneys said. They argued he has “been the subject of innumerable and ongoing threats” for years.
However, his attorneys said that if the court grants Montgomery’s request that it would only be fair that “everyone who claims he or she is being threatened” be granted the same services.
The cost to the estate for the services Montgomery has requested could exceed $50,000 a month, according to Jamie’s attorneys.
“Mr. Spears does not believe such an expense is reasonable, necessary, or a proper expense of the Conservatorship Estate,” the filing stated.
On Wednesday, attorneys for Montgomery asked the court to instruct Jamie Spears to pay for her security expenses, saying that in the wake of the singer’s testimony “there has been a marked increase in the number and severity of threatening posts.” Under the conservatorship, Spears’ father requires Montgomery to get court approval to pay for security, her attorneys said.
“The cost of physical security, although deemed urgent and necessary at this time for [Montgomery], is cost-prohibitive for [her] to personally bear,” her attorneys wrote.
But Jamie’s attorneys questioned whether the additional security was really necessary, noting that Montgomery has contacted local law enforcement, which added her to their patrol watch.
“Again, 24/7 coverage by a private security company is likely not required where others are already standing watch or other protections are already in place – which is the exact situation here,” his attorneys wrote.
According to the filing, Britney Spears’ court-appointed attorney Samuel Ingham, who notified the court this week that he was resigning from the case, has also received “threatening communications,” as have her father and his counsel.
“To be clear, the foregoing discussion is not meant in any way to minimize the threats to Ms. Montgomery or anyone else, but rather to allow the Court to make an informed decision given the serious cost, number of people affected, and prospective burden on the Conservatorship Estate,” the filing stated.