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Britney Spears Can Choose Her Own Lawyer In Conservatorship Case, A Judge Has Ruled

Protesters at a #FreeBritney Rally outside the Los Angeles Courthouse today. A judge has cleared the pop star to choose her own lawyer.
Emma McIntyre
Getty Images
Protesters at a #FreeBritney Rally outside the Los Angeles Courthouse today. A judge has cleared the pop star to choose her own lawyer.

Updated July 14, 2021 at 6:58 PM ET

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has allowed Britney Spears to hire her own lawyer. Matthew S. Rosengart, a prominent Hollywood lawyer and former federal prosecutor, has been approved as Spears' choice to take up the case.

Spears, who joined the hearing by phone, also told the Los Angeles court that she wants her father charged with conservatorship abuse.

After Spears' blistering public comments about the conservatorship last month, various parties in Britney Spears' orbit started making some legal moves: Bessemer Trust, the wealth management company that had signed on to be co-conservator of Spears' estate, asked to resign. Her longtime court-appointed lawyer Samuel D. Ingham III also requested to resign, asking the court to appoint someone else in his place. Spears' mother, Lynne Spears, as well as Jodi Montgomery, the conservator of her personal life, have also initiated different routes for Britney Spears to choose her own legal representation.

There are a lot of moving parts to the case. If you want to know more, here's a quick rundown on who's involved.

TMZ first reported last week that Spears had approached Rosengart, asking him to represent her.

Presumably, Rosengart will be the one to follow through on Britney's wishes to end the conservatorship, and start the process of proving Britney Spears willing and able to care for herself.

#FreeBritney activists are keeping a close eye on the proceedings, and gathered outside the courtroom, like they did last month. Only this time the hearing was held in person (the last one was remote), and the judge restricted any recording after Spears' testimony leaked online.

Disability rights activists have also been watching this case closely. Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union teamed up with 25 disability rights organizations to file an amicus brief in support of Britney Spears choosing her own lawyer. In a statement, they called Spears' probate conservatorship "a court-ordered legal status that strips people with disabilities of their civil liberties," adding that the right to choose one's own counsel is a key part of the Sixth Amendment.

Politicians have been paying attention too, with everyone from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, voicing their support for Britney Spears. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. spoke in front of #FreeBritney activists ahead of the hearing to show his support for the movement. "Britney's been abused by the media, she's been abused by her grifter father, and she's been abused by the American justice system," he said, while calling for a federal change to conservatorship laws.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.