Britney Spears wants a judge to pull the plug on her dad’s ability to tap her fortune for his legal representation as she investigates his alleged “misconduct” and “self-dealing” at the helm of her conservatorship.
In a new filing ahead of a court showdown Wednesday, the pop star and her lawyer Mathew Rosengart claim Jamie Spears already has “siphoned” more than $6 million from her coffers and should “consider hiring other, less expensive counsel whom he can afford,” instead of seeking to use her money for “obfuscation and stonewalling.”
According to a declaration filed last month, Jamie’s new lead lawyer Alex Weingarten charges an eye-watering $1,200 per hour, while his co-counsel Eric Bakewell charges $860.
“Permitting Mr. Spears to pay his lawyers from Britney Spears’s estate without judicial oversight — largely for the purpose of mounting a ‘defense’ to potential claims against him — would grant them a license to run up fees waging a war of attrition, obstruct efforts to discover the truth about everything Mr. Spears has done, and incur fees not to assist the ‘transition’… but to defend himself and cover up the truth,” the new filing from Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, states.
In his dueling petition filed Dec. 15, Jamie asked the court for permission to continue paying Weingarten and Bakewell from Britney’s estate, claiming he needs the money to carry out his “duties relating to the winding up of the conservatorship,” which was effectively terminated in November.
He and Weingarten state in their paperwork that Jamie still owes Britney “fiduciary obligations” even though he was removed from his role through a suspension. Jamie claims his ongoing responsibilities include finalizing the accounting related to his administration of the estate in 2019, preparing a final accounting covering the period from July 2020 through the present, and engaging in “discovery” related to his daughter’s investigation.
According to Britney and Rosengart, however, Jamie “is still acting faithlessly, elevating his interests above those of his daughter.” They claim in their new paperwork that surfaced Tuesday that Jamie has “failed to cooperate” with their ongoing investigation being carried out in by the forensic accounting firm Kroll.
Sherine Ebadi, a former FBI agent now employed by Kroll, claims in a sworn statement filed by Rosengart Friday that her investigation shows Jamie paid himself $6,314,307.99 for his work on his daughter’s conservatorship between 2008 and the end of 2020 and also approved the expenditure of more than $30 million in fees to dozens of firms for sometimes “questionable” and overlapping work.
The statement says Jamie was in a “dire financial situation” prior to becoming Britney’s conservator. This included a bankruptcy and a $40,000 loan from Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group, a then-obscure business management company. Ebadi’s statement points out that Jamie would go on to award Tri Star “multi-million dollar commissions and fees from his daughter’s earnings,” despite the alleged conflict of interest.
The issue of Jamie’s legal fees is set to be argued Wednesday afternoon at the same courthouse where Britney’s conservatorship was first granted in 2008 and then effectively terminated in November.
Spears, meanwhile, has been enjoying her newfound freedom with her fiancé Sam Asghari, taking luxury vacations and showing off her engagement ring.
She’s also been engaged in some back-and-forth sniping with younger sister Jamie Lynn, who recently spoke to ABC’s Good Morning America while promoting her new book Things I Should Have Said.
In a statement on Twitter, Britney accused her family of ruining her life and lying about her mental state in 2008 to make money.
“My family ruined my dreams 100 billion percent and try to make me look like the crazy one,” Britney wrote. “My family loves to pull me down and hurt me always so I am disgusted with them.”