Britney lawyers push for end to father's control ahead of hearing

Los Angeles (AFP) –


After weeks of twists and turns -- and two major new documentaries -- Britney Spears' highly public bid to end her father's guardianship could reach its conclusion at a court hearing Wednesday.

Britney's father has controlled her life for the past 13 years, under a controversial legal arrangement that the US pop singer has slammed as "abusive" and that her lawyers have demanded be scrapped.

Jamie Spears "must be suspended on September 29th; followed by the prompt termination of the conservatorship," her lawyer Mathew Rosengart wrote in a filing this week.

"Every day that goes by with him as conservator -- every day and every hour -- is one in which he causes his daughter anguish and pain," the petition says.

Those claims were seemingly bolstered by a New York Times documentary released Friday that alleged Jamie Spears had surveillance devices secretly installed in Britney's bedroom to record her conversations.

"It really reminded me of somebody that was in prison," a former security firm employee told the "Controlling Britney Spears" filmmakers.

Britney's lawyers this week said the Times' allegations about Jamie Spears showed "horrifying and unconscionable invasions of his adult daughter's privacy."

Jamie Spears denies any illegal surveillance took place.

Yet another new documentary -- Netflix's "Britney vs Spears," released on Tuesday -- claims Britney twice tried to hire her own lawyer in the early years of the conservatorship, but was denied.

In July, Britney was finally successful in appointing her own lawyer -- Rosengart -- and last month Jamie Spears himself filed a petition for Britney's conservatorship to be ended.

But while he acknowledged his daughter "believes that she can handle her own life," he remains in place.

- 'Never fit to serve' -

In the petition this week, Britney's lawyers accuse Jamie Spears of seeking to delay the end of the guardianship for his own financial benefit.

His efforts are "a subterfuge, designed to avoid the stigma of being suspended and its consequences, including the likelihood of disgorgement and rejection of outstanding legal fees," the petition alleges.

"Disgorgement" is a legal term meaning the repayment of ill-gotten gains.

Britney's representatives and fans have long accused her father of profiting from the guardianship, which was set up after a highly public 2007 breakdown when the shaven-headed star attacked a paparazzo's car at a gas station.

Meanwhile, Jamie Spears has objected to Britney's choice of a new temporary conservator to replace him, saying that certified public accountant John Zabel lacks the necessary experience, US media reported Monday.

In turn, Britney's lawyers say her father was "never fit to serve," citing in their petition allegations of Jamie Spears' "reported alcoholism" and "trauma he caused his daughter since her childhood."

Many of those barbs are likely to resurface on Wednesday afternoon, when a total of 15 petitions are listed to be heard by Judge Brenda Penny at a downtown Los Angeles courthouse.