Finally free? Judge to consider ending restrictions on Britney Spears

epa09345057 A demonstrator holds a poster reading 'Free Britney of her Conservatorship' during a #FREEBRITNEY protest in front of the court house where a hearing is scheduled in the Britney Spears' conservatorship case in Los Angeles, California, USA, 14 July 2021. A judge granted Britney Spears the right to hire her own attorney after her court appointed attorney resigned on 06 July. EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT

LOS ANGELES, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Pop superstar Britney Spears may be freed as early as Friday from a conservatorship that she has called abusive and humiliating if a Los Angeles judge rules in her favour and ends the 13-year legal arrangement.

The “Piece of Me” singer, 39, has begged the court to terminate the conservatorship that has governed her personal life and $60 million estate since 2008.

The arrangement was set up and overseen by the singer’s father after she had a public breakdown and underwent treatment for undisclosed mental health issues.

Since revealing years of private anguish in tearful testimony in June, Spears has received a groundswell of public support and hired a new lawyer who has moved aggressively to end the restrictions.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny is scheduled to consider that request and possibly rule on the matter at a public hearing on Friday. None of those involved in the conservatorship opposes the request.

“This week is gonna be very interesting for me!” Spears wrote on Instagram earlier this week. “I haven’t prayed for something more in my life!”

It is unclear if the singer will appear in person at the court on Friday or speak via audio as she has sometimes done in the past.

A key question is whether Penny might require Spears to undergo a mental health evaluation, a step often taken before ending a conservatorship. The singer has asked to be released without a new psychiatric assessment.

In June, Spears told the court she had been traumatized and wanted her “life back” as soon as possible. She said she had been forced to work and take medication against her will and was prevented from marrying or even getting her hair and nails done.

Her father, Jamie Spears, has said through attorneys that he helped his daughter rehabilitate her career and always acted in her best interest.

In an unexpected move in early September, he reversed his stance on the conservatorship and said he supported termination because the arrangement had helped her and was no longer needed.

Penny suspended Jamie Spears from the conservatorship in late September, calling his involvement “toxic” to the singer’s well-being, and temporarily replaced him with an accountant.

Interest in the case was propelled in the past year by documentaries and a #FreeBritney movement of fans who questioned why the singer has lived under restrictions while successfully touring around the world and earning millions of dollars.

The fans, who have gathered outside the courthouse waving pink signs to show support, plan to hold a celebration on Friday evening if the judge delivers the milestone ruling they are hoping for.

Spears is engaged to personal trainer Sam Asghari and has said she wants to have more children. She has two teenage sons from her previous marriage to Kevin Federline.

By Lisa Richwine.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles. Editing by Matthew Lewis).


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