“The current situation is not tenable. It reflects a toxic environment which requires the suspension of Jamie Spears, effective today,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny said during a court hearing.
Spears will be replaced with an accountant, John Zabel, on a temporary basis, Penny said. The judge set a November date for a hearing about whether to terminate the controversial conservatorship that has controlled Spears’ personal and business affairs for 13 years.
#FreeBritney fans who were gathered outside the court in Los Angeles erupted in cheers as the judge’s ruling was conveyed. Pop singer Cher tweeted, “I’m more than thrilled 4 her. Bless our super star.”
Jamie Spears had been in charge of his daughter’s business affairs since 2008, when he put in place a wide-ranging, court-approved conservatorship after she suffered a mental breakdown.
The singer, 39, has been demanding for months that her father be removed from any role in her life. She did not take part in Wednesday’s hearing but was represented by her attorney, Mathew Rosengart.
The “Circus” singer’s father made a surprise request earlier in September for her conservatorship to end. His attorneys on Wednesday argued there was no need for him to step down because all sides had agreed the contentious arrangement should end.
Rosengart said it would take time to wind down the conservatorship, and he said Jamie Spears wanted to avoid having to answer questions about his actions.
A New York Times documentary released last week alleged that the singer’s phone and bedroom were bugged by security staff working for her father. Conversations with friends, her children and her previous lawyer were monitored, a former security staffer said. Jamie Spears said his actions were within his authority as conservator.
Spears stepped up her efforts in June to break free of the conservatorship, telling the judge in her first public comments that she found it abusive and humiliating and did not trust her father. Public support for her has swelled, and some restrictions Spears complained about have been loosened, including being able to drive her own car.
Two weeks ago she announced her engagement to Sam Asghari, 27, her personal trainer boyfriend of more than four years. The pair hope to marry soon after negotiating a pre-nuptial agreement.