Attorney: Removal of Spears' father is 'a loss for Britney'

Britney Spears supporters demonstrate outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge's decision to remove Britney Spears' father from control of the conservatorship that has wielded vast power over her life is "a loss" for the singer, his attorney said Thursday.

A Los Angeles court on Wednesday suspended James Spears from the conservatorship that he sought in 2008. The judge cited the "toxic environment" his presence had created.

In a statement to The Associated Press, the elder Spears' attorney, Vivian Thoreen, said he loves his daughter unconditionally and has tried for 13 years "to do what is in her best interests, whether as a conservator or her father."

"This included helping her revive her career and re-establish a relationship with her children. For anyone who has tried to help a family member dealing with mental health issues, they can appreciate the tremendous amount of daily worry and work this required," the statement said.

The suspension is technically temporary but practically permanent, as the entire conservatorship appears likely to end in the coming months.

"The current situation is untenable," Judge Brenda Penny said at Wednesday's hearing. "It reflects a toxic environment which requires the suspension of James Spears."

Thoreen called the move "disappointing, and frankly, a loss for Britney."

Britney Spears' attorney, Mathew Rosengart, delivered a long and scathing attack on her father at the hearing, continuing a campaign to have him removed that included a pair of dramatic court speeches from the singer in June and July.

"According to Britney Spears, his service has been abusive, has been toxic, has been cruel," Rosengart told the judge.

He argued that James Spears had "reaped millions of dollars" from the conservatorship and had crossed "unfathomable" lines by engaging in illegal surveillance of her, including communications with her children, her boyfriend and her lawyer, as reported in "Controlling Britney Spears," a recent documentary from The New York Times and the FX network.

Thoreen responded in court that the allegations were unsubstantiated.

She said in Thursday's statement that James Spears' love of his daughter has "meant biting his tongue and not responding to all the false, speculative and unsubstantiated attacks on him by certain members of the public, media, or more recently, Britney's own attorney."

After years of acting as the conservatorship's biggest champion and defender, James Spears reversed course in recent weeks and petitioned to have the arrangement scrapped altogether. The judge rejected that request.

Rosengart said he and Spears agreed that the conservatorship needs to end soon but that her father's attempt to end it immediately was an effort to avoid scrutiny and culpability. They plan to make a formal request to end the conservatorship before a November hearing.

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