A longtime attorney for Britney Spears’ father confirmed on Thursday (Oct. 21) that she had parted ways with Jamie Spears in the legal battle over his daughter’s conservatorship, but said she and her firm “stand by his and our actions.”
The statement, issued by Vivian L. Thoreen of Holland & Knight, came two days after the elder Spears notified the California judge overseeing the conservatorship that he had hired Alex Weingarten, a litigator at the firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, to replace Thoreen.
Despite the change, Thoreen said she and her firm were “proud of our work on behalf of Jamie Spears and stand by his and our actions.”
“We continue to have a good relationship, and are pleased that we have been able to help Jamie find new counsel,” Thoreen said. “I am confident that Jamie’s new counsel will continue to prove that he has always acted in Britney’s best interests every step of the way.”
The attorney swap came after repeated setbacks for Jamie in the battle to end the 13-year conservatorship. It also came as Britney and her attorney Mathew Rosengart have vowed to investigate potential misconduct by the star’s father, signaling a tough legal fight ahead.
A California judge suspended Jamie as conservator on Sept. 29, replacing him with an accountant named John Zabel. The judge ordered Jamie to turn over documents related to the case, and Rosengart – a former federal prosecutor — has warned of a “top-to-bottom” examination of his behavior and records.
In Thursday’s statement, Thoreen confirmed media reports that the swap had been amicable and that she had helped to settle on Weingarten, a veteran litigator who just joined Willkie Farr last month.
However, the statement did not touch on reports that change in counsel was instigated by Thoreen. According to reports from People and the New York Post, the Thoreen told her client that he would need a different type of attorney in the battles ahead with Rosengart, and that Holland & Knight would not be handling the matter.
Spears was placed in the conservatorship, under control of her father, in 2008 following a string of erratic behavior and public incidents. But the arrangement began to be scrutinized in 2019, leading to high-profile investigative documentaries and the #FreeBritney movement among fans.
On Sept. 29, after months of increasing tension, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny temporarily suspended Jamie as conservator of his daughter’s estate. A hearing to terminate the conservatorship entirely is set for Nov. 12.
But an end to the conservatorship is unlikely to be the end of the legal fight for Jamie. Rosengart has vowed a “top-to-bottom” examination of his behavior and records, and has event hinted that the case could bring a “hard look” from law enforcement.
“Jamie Spears and others are going to face even more serious ramifications for his misconduct,” Rosengart told the Associated Press following the Sept. 29 hearing.
Jamie and his attorneys have denied all accusations of wrongdoing.