- The investigation alleges that Britney Spears called 911 to report herself as a victim of guardianship abuse.
- The New Yorker says her tutorship went quickly: “She never had a chance.”
- The report alleges that Spears lives on a limited allowance, but pays the costs of her guardianship.
A mind-boggling investigation released by The New Yorker on Saturday sheds new light on Britney Spears’ fight to break free from her restrictive tutelage.
Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino’s report alleges the pop star called 911 to report herself as a victim of guardianship abuse, a day before Spears’ shocking testimony in court on June 23, in which she spoke out. described as “traumatized” and “depressed”.
According to The New Yorker, members of the Spears team “started texting each other frantically” after the call. “They were worried about what Spears might say the next day, and they discussed how to prepare in case she became a thug.”
Emergency calls are generally made public in California, but not in Spears’ case, as the call is part of an ongoing investigation, Farrow and Tolentino wrote.
The investigation describes a guardianship that was quickly granted and unchallenged, as well as a strained relationship between Spears and his father, Jamie Spears, who controls his finances.
USA TODAY has reached out to Vivian Thoreen, attorney for Jamie Spears, and Sam Ingham, attorney for Britney Spears, for comment on the report.
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Sources identified include family, friends and former employees, including former Spears manager Sam Lutfi (a five-year restraining order was filed against him in 2019 on behalf of Spears by lawyers for her guardianship), her mother Lynne Spears and her former hairdresser Kim Vo.
Among the many allegations in the report is that Spears’ guardianship was meant to be temporary.
Lynne Spears believed the guardianship would only last for a few months and didn’t want to tie into it as it could damage her relationship with her daughter, according to Jacqueline Butcher, a former friend of the family.
“The whole process took maybe 10 minutes,” Butcher told The New Yorker. “No one testified. No questions were asked.… She never had a chance.” The judge waived the requirement that Spears be given five days’ notice prior to the start of guardianship.
“At the time, I thought we were helping,” Butcher said. Instead, “I helped a corrupt family take all of that control.”
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The New Yorker also alleges that Spears lives on a limited allowance, while paying for the costs of his guardianship.
According to Farrow and Tolentino, the singer pays Ingham, her court-appointed lawyer, $ 520,000 a year. By comparison, they say, Spears’ living expenses in 2019 were just under $ 450,000.
Court documents show lawyers for Jamie Spears billed nearly $ 900,000 for four months of work from October 2020 to February 2021. Hundreds of hours of response to media inquiries are included at a rate of $ 500 to $ 900 per hour.
Vo remembers going to dinner with Spears in Las Vegas in 2012. The star told her she couldn’t afford half the $ 1,300 bill.
What emerges from the report is the concern of those who have been implicated in the Spears affair.
“I have mixed feelings about everything,” Lynne Spears told The New Yorker. ” I do not know what to think. It’s a lot of pain, a lot of worry. “
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“None of this was (Britney’s) fault,” says Robin Johnson, the court-ordered observer who observed Spears’ four days a week visitation with her children in 2007. “There was so much. of people involved in her life who caused all this madness with her. I have nothing derogatory to say about it. “
“It was probably one of the saddest cases I have ever experienced in my entire life,” Johnson said.
Judge Brenda J. Penny on Wednesday rejected Spears’ request to dismiss her father as co-curator of his finances. A day later, Bessemer Trust, the wealth management company appointed to help the pop star manage her money, asked to step down, citing a “change of circumstances” and noting that it had been said that the guardianship of Spears volunteered. Penny approved the resignation petition on Friday.
The next court hearing in the Spears Guardianship case is set for July 14.