A judge ruled that Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, must sit for a deposition and produce all documents that are being requested by the pop star’s team. The judge ordered Spears’ father will be deposed within the next 30 days in Los Angeles.
Judge Brenda Penny ordered Spears’ father to produce all documents related to electronic surveillance. This move favors the singer, and indicates that the court believes it has reason to further inquire into shocking allegations that Jamie Spears had hired a security firm that put his daughter under surveillance throughout her conservatorship, with allegations of monitoring her phone and bugging her bedroom to record her private conversations.
Prior to the judge’s ruling, Jamie Spears’ attorney, Alex Weingarten, asked the judge to give his team access to documents from the singer’s team to help prepare for his client’s deposition. The hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse was heated with fiery debate among Weingarten and the star’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart.
“It’s a deposition. Not an ambush,” Weingarten argued in the courtroom, before Judge Penny ruled against his request to receive documents ahead of his client’s deposition.
Wednesday’s hearing marked a big victory for the singer, who has been fighting against her father in a continuous legal battle ever since her conservatorship was terminated last year.
Spears was put under a court-ordered conservatorship in 2008 by her father, who acted as her sole conservator for most of the 13 years. After more than a decade of fighting against the arrangement, Spears’ father was suspended by the court in September 2021, and the conservatorship was ultimately terminated in November 2021. Despite the singer’s newfound freedom, her legal team’s battle has remained messy with no resolution from either side.
After roughly two hours, the judge called for recess, as another motion was on the table: whether the pop star will need to be deposed by her father’s team.
Last month, Jamie Spears filed documents request to depose his daughter in light of her social media posts; Rosengart blasted the request, calling it a “revenge” and “sham.”
Initially, at the hearing, the judge gave a temporary order to deny Jamie Spears’ motion to depose Britney Spears. But after argument from Weingarten, who said he will appeal the decision, Penny indicated she may push the matter to a later hearing, but then took a brief break from the courtroom.
“You don’t sit down a victim for a deposition to be deposed by the victimizer,” Rosengart argued in the courtroom, telling the judge that sitting for a deposition would be “re-traumatizing” to the singer.
At one point, pleading with the judge to allow his team to depose the pop star, Weingarten said that “unfortunately” there are documents under seal and “court orders regarding” the electronic surveillance. “Based on what I know,” he said, “I suspect that Ms. Spears will be a treasure trove of information.”
Weingarten said that if the judge decides Britney Spears does not have to sit for a deposition, while ruling that Jamie Spears does, his client will not have his “fair day in court.” He said he is being held to a “different standard” than other parties in the case, based on “unproven allegations.”
“I appreciate that it’s en vogue to trash Jamie Spears,” Weingarten told the judge “But he has rights… In this country, you’re innocent until proven guilty.”
Rosengart stood up and firmly objected to Weingarten. “You do not put a victim back in front of the victimizer. It’s the wrong thing to do,” Rosengart said. “That would be wrong, whether my client was Britney Spears or Jane Doe.”
“The mere deposition itself is harassment,” Rosengart told the judge.
Rosengart has been fighting against Jamie Spears and the singer’s former business manager, Tri Star Sports & Entertainment, ever since he was retained by Spears in summer 2021. He has accused the company of “stonewalling” his attempts to obtain information for his client, refusing to cooperate and avoiding deposition. Spears’ legal team said they have been requesting to depose the elder Spears for nine months, and claimed that he has evaded those requests. On Wednesday, during the hearing, Judge Penny moved in favor of the star, agreeing that Jamie Spears has failed to appear for his deposition.
Earlier this month, in bombshell court documents, Rosengart claimed that his client’s father and Tri Star were in cahoots to create the conservatorship and reap the benefits by taking millions of the superstar’s hard-earned money, rather than looking out for her best interest, which they deny. (Tri Star and its founder, Lou Taylor, served as the superstar’s business managers from 2008 through 2020, and the company was hired by Spears’ father around the time he placed her under a conservatorship.)
Rosengart claimed that Tri Star was directly involved in creating the conservatorship and received at least $18 million throughout it. Lawyers for Tri Star denied this, stating, “As all the evidence makes abundantly clear, the conservatorship was set up on the recommendation of legal counsel, not Tri Star, and approved by the Court for more than 12 years.”
Spears’ father and Tri Star have been the subject of damning accusations, both from the media and from private investigators hired by Rosengart’s firm. While the surveillance allegations have largely focused on Spears’ father and Black Box, the security team he was alleged to have hired, Tri Star has been at the center of extensive claims of financial mismanagement.
A report in the New York Times alleged the star was under surveillance from a security team hired by her father and that Tri Star was involved in monitoring the singer’s phone. At the time, a lawyer for Tri Star told the Times, “These allegations are not true.” Earlier this month, Weingarten filed a sworn declaration from Jamie Spears, denying having any awareness of his adult daughter’s private bedroom being bugged or authorizing surveillance of the pop star. “I am informed of the allegation by Britney’s counsel that a listening device or ‘bug’ was placed her bedroom as surveillance during the Conservatorship,” the declaration stated. “This allegation is false.”
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