Britney Spears says her $10,000-a-week lawyer never told her she could ask to end 'abusive' conservatorship
Britney Spears made it very clear in extraordinary public testimony Wednesday that she is unhappy with the conservatorship that has controlled much of her life since 2008. "All I want is to own my money, for this to end, and my boyfriend to drive me in his f---ing car," she told a California probate court.
Among the surprising revelations in the 23-minute statement she made to Judge Brenda Penny via telephone — her court-appointed conservators won't let her get married or remove her IUD so she can have a baby, she wants to sue her family or send them to jail, her conservatorship is "abusive" and traumatizing — Spears said she was never told she could simply ask to end the 13-year conservatorship she equated to sex trafficking. She also said she wants her own lawyer.
Spears' court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, told the judge that Spears has never directed him to file a motion ending the conservatorship. Spears told the court she was never told she could petition to end the conservatorship. "I'm sorry for my ignorance," she said, "but I didn't know that." Ingham said before the hearing he did not know what Spears would say, and he "seemed stunned" afterward, The New York Times reports. He said he will discuss whether to seek an end to the arrangement and step down if asked. "I will abide by whatever decision she makes in that regard," Ingham said.
Confidential court records obtained recently by the Times show that Spears, 39, had repeatedly asked about ending the conservatorship since 2016 and fought against the role her father, Jamie Spears, played in the legal guardianship. Jamie Spears and, since 2020, a firm called Bessemer Trust oversee Britney Spears' $60 million estate, while her personal matters are supervised by Jodi Montgomery.
Jamie Spears earns $2,500 a week for his role as co-conservator while Ingham has earned up to $10,000 a week since 2008, though he evidently did not earn the maximum $520,000 every year — in 2019, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Ingham's fees were about $370,000. The court re-approved Ingham's $10,000-a-week arrangement in 2020. According to an email Ingham sent last year, there are no court records of his initial assignment to Spears' case or how his fee was determined.