A Los Angeles judge has said US pop star Britney Spears can choose her own lawyer in the fight to end her controversial conservatorship. The ruling came on Wednesday as Spears addressed the court for the second time in less than a month.
Spears demanded once again that her father, Jamie Spears, be removed from the legal agreement that has controlled her affairs for years. In court last month, she made a dramatic plea to end the agreement.
On Wednesday she repeated that appeal in an emotional statement in which she called for her father to be charged with “conservatorship abuse”.
“I’m here to press charges. I’m angry and I will go there,” Spears said, speaking to the court over a lawyer’s phone. “You’re allowing my dad to ruin my life. I have to get rid of my dad and charge him with conservatorship abuse,” she said.
A tearful Spears told the court that under the conservatorship, her hair vitamins and coffee had been confiscated. “Ma’am, that’s not abuse, that’s just [expletive] cruelty,” she told Judge Penny. “Excuse my language, but it’s the truth.”
A conservatorship is granted by a court for individuals who are unable to make their own decisions, like those with dementia or other mental illnesses.
Spears, 39, has been under the conservatorship since 2008 when concerns over her mental health prompted her father to petition the court for legal authority over his daughter’s life.
Conservatorship abuse can involve financially exploiting or imposing excessive personal restrictions on someone in your care.
Wednesday’s court ruling paves the way for Spears’ lawyer of choice, former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, to take charge of the complex legal battle.
He will replace Samuel Ingham, the court-appointed lawyer who had been representing Spears since 2008 before stepping down last week.
Spears’ supporters rallied outside the court, and also gathered on the other side of the country in central Washington DC as the hearing was being held.
Following the ruling, the singer posted an Instagram video of herself doing cartwheels in celebration with a caption thanking her fans and adding “#FreeBritney”.
Last month a judge denied the pop star’s request to remove her father from his role overseeing her conservatorship. Judge Brenda Penny said she could not make a ruling until the singer files a formal petition to terminate the arrangement.