Britney Spears' Conservator Asks Court to Allow Singer Help to Hire Lawyer Without Medical Evaluation
Britney Spears' longtime court-appointed attorney, Sam Ingham III, submitted his resignation as the singer's counsel on Tuesday
Britney Spears' personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, is moving forward in efforts to follow the singer's wishes in seeking her own attorney.
After Spears' longtime court-appointed attorney Sam Ingham III asked the court to resign as her counsel, Montgomery filed a petition for a guardian ad litem — a third-party advocate — to assist the 39-year-old pop star in selecting her own lawyer without having to undergo a medical evaluation.
"This Petition for the Appointment of a Guardian ad Litem arises from the fact that the Conservatee, Ms. Spears, wants to select her own attorney, does not want one appointed solely by this Court, and does not want to undergo any additional evaluations to determine her capacity," reads court documents obtained by PEOPLE on Wednesday.
In the filing, Montgomery and her lawyer, Lauriann Wright, say that Spears "unequivocally disagrees" with Ingham's request that his resignation goes into effect "upon the appointment of new court-appointed counsel."
"After 13 years of court-appointed counsel, she wants to select her own counsel," the document reads. "At the hearing on June 23, 2021, Ms. Spears addressed the Court and repeatedly expressed her desire to select her own counsel, without an additional medical evaluation."
According to the filing, Montgomery wants to "honor" Spears' wishes and is now petitioning the court to appoint a guardian ad litem "for the limited purpose of assisting her in the selection of private counsel to represent her in these pending conservatorship proceedings."
"Because it is the GAL who is retaining the private counsel for the Conservatee, the proposed GAL appointment can honor Conservatee's choice of private counsel without any kind of medical testing – a concern Ms. Spears also repeatedly raised at the last hearing," the document reads.
"Recognizing both the demands of the conservatorship and Ms. Spears' desire for more autonomy, Petitioner believes that a Guardian ad Litem for this limited purpose is the only way to both honor her wish to select counsel without a medical evaluation and protect her interests."
The filing also says Montgomery "believes that a large firm, such as an Am Law 100 firm, is the appropriate choice for Ms. Spears' retained counsel."
"Petitioner therefore suggests the appointment of a larger firm will satisfy her indisputable right to choose counsel with the expertise and substantial resources necessary for this complex conservatorship," the documents states.
The court filing from Montgomery included screenshots where Spears — listed as Jane Doe — texts her, saying, "I need u to stay as my co conservator of person. I'm asking u for ur assistance in getting a new attorney." (Montgomery stated on Tuesday she would not resign since Spears had asked her to remain.)
On Tuesday, Ingham asked to resign as Spears' attorney after serving as her attorney since the start of her conservatorship more than a decade ago. The news of his resignation came after Spears told the court in a bombshell testimony that she never knew she could file to end her conservatorship.
"I want changes, I deserve changes. I was told I have to be sat down and evaluated again," she said in court June 23, going on to address Judge Penny directly. "Ma'am, I didn't know I could petition the conservatorship to end. I honestly didn't know that."
"Honestly, I don't think I owe anyone to be evaluated," she added. "I've done more than enough."
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She also told the court directly that she wanted to be able to hire her own attorney.
"I would personally like to — actually, I've grown with a personal relationship with Sam, my lawyer, I've been talking to him like three times a week now, we've kind of built a relationship but I haven't really had the opportunity by my own self to actually handpick my own lawyer by myself," she said. "And I would like to be able to do that."
Earlier this week, Larry Rudolph resigned as Spears' manager, citing the singer's desire to retire from music. And last week, Bessemer Trust, which had been selected as a co-conservator of Spears' estate back in November 2020, resigned from their post citing her desire to end the conservatorship overall.