The conservatorship that has governed Britney Spears' life for the last 13 years began to crumble in recent weeks. First, the pop icon gave bombshell testimony about the abuses she's allegedly suffered and passionately lobbied for her freedom. Then last week, a slew of people connected to the conservatorship resigned, including the singer's longtime manager, her court-appointed lawyer and the firm tapped to oversee her finances. Now, Spears has a chance to get someone in her corner who'll aggressively fight to end the conservatorship, and it appears she's enlisting a legal powerhouse.
Former federal prosecutor and lawyer-to-the-stars Mathew S. Rosengart has been in talks with Spears in recent days about representing her, the New York Times reported. He'll attend this Wednesday's court hearing in Los Angeles to initiate the process of taking over as her counsel. Rosengart clerked for former Supreme Court judge David Souter and worked for the Justice Department in the 1990s as an assistant U.S. Attorney. In recent years, he's represented stars like Sean Penn, Steven Spielberg and Kenneth Lonergan. Penn described the veteran lawyer as "a tough as nails streetfighter with a big brain and bigger principles."
Not being allowed to hire her own lawyer has been a thorny aspect of Spears' conservatorship. When it was established in 2008, the court appointed Sam Ingham as her representative but didn't even notify the pop star — yet she covers his annual salary of $520,000. In the earliest days of the conservatorship, while hospitalized, Spears contacted a lawyer named Adam Streisand, who told the court it was her "strong desire" that Jamie not be in charge. The judge ruled Spears had no capacity to retain counsel.
Another lawyer, Jon Eardley, tried taking her case to federal court, arguing the singer was being denied due process. Jamie's lawyers came for him with allegations of undermining the conservatorship, and he was eventually disbarred. Whenever Spears sought outside assistance or was offered a lifeline, the courts and the conservatorship doled out discipline, The New Yorker reported.
Before Rosengart can represent Spears, the judge overseeing her case has to sign off on the arrangement. If approved, it'll signal a drastic shift, since Rosengart is expected to assertively lobby for termination of the conservatorship. While Ingham had begun petitioning for changes in her interest, Spears also told the court that she had no idea she could request to end the conservatorship, making it sound like her lawyer never properly explained her rights.
This time around, she has support from other stakeholders to hire a new lawyer: Britney's mother Lynne Spears and her personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery. Both asked the court to urgently grant Spears permission to hire private counsel, noting the multi-millionaire deserved the best representation she can afford. Meanwhile, Jamie's legal team is expected to refute many of the claims Britney made on June 23. Wednesday promises to be an eventful day in court.