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Judge says Britney Spears doesn’t have to be deposed in ongoing conservatorship fallout

The pop star's attorney argued that to force her to be deposed by her father's lawyers would "re-traumatize her."

(CN) — Britney Spears won't have to be deposed by her father's lawyers, a California Superior Court Judge ruled on Wednesday. The pop star's attorney, Mathew Rosengart, argued that to force the younger Spears to sit for a taped deposition would "re-traumatize her."

For nearly 14 years, Britney Spears's father Jamie served as her conservator following her very public meltdown in 2008. Since then, Jamie controlled nearly every aspect of her life, from her finances to where and when she could perform and even, according to Britney, her use of birth control.

A judge terminated the conservatorship in November, after a public outcry and Britney's dramatic testimony, where she claimed her father stole money from her and even compared him to a sex trafficker. Jamie is also believed to have hired a private firm that operated an extensive surveillance operation of Britney, monitoring all manner of communications, including conversations between her and her children and boyfriend.

The case, which has been covered extensively by the media, has launched a conversation about the laws governing guardianships, uniting Britney Spears fans and disability rights advocates, both of whom are pushing for legislation that places more oversight and higher standards around conservatorship.

Although the Spears conservatorship is over, the litigation over its fallout is anything but. Jamie Spears is still seeking to be reimbursed for attorneys' fees and other costs. Superior Court Judge Brenda Perry has already granted Britney's attorneys the right to depose Jamie. Jamie's lawyers had asked the judge for the right to depose Britney, in part to examine claims Britney made in court filings. For example, in a recent filing, Britney alleged that Jamie took "more than $6 million from his daughter's earnings, while paying his numerous lawyers and others many millions more."

"Jamie is entitled to depose Britney about her personal knowledge of the factual allegations she chose to raise to determine what evidence exists (if any) to support her claim," Jamie's attorneys wrote in a recent court filing.

On Wednesday, for the second time, Judge Perry denied Jamie's motion, saying that Jamie can defend himself against allegations of conservatorship abuse by evidence gleaned from other sources.

Britney's attorney urged the judge to reject Jamie's motion and denounced his client's father for even asking to depose his daughter.

"Whether he accepts it or not, his daughter feels traumatized by what he went through at his hand by more than a decade," Rosengart said. "What would a decent father do under those circumstances? He has told the world he loves his daughter. If that's true, he should accept the court's ruling."

Jamie's lawyer, Alex Weingarten, lashed back at what he called his adversary's "theatrics" and "ad-hominem attacks."

To depose a party in litigation, Weingarten said, was a "basic right to all parties in litigation."

"Mr. Spears did right by his daughter," Weingarten said. "He protected her... He protected her from the Svengalis and Rasputins." He added: "I will not stand here and listen to my client's reputation be impugned. The truth will come out, and Mr. Spears will be vindicated."

Rosengart seized on this last point.

"This court is not here for the vindication of Mr. Spears," Rosengart said. "If he wants to write a book or go on TV, lots of luck."

Jamie Spears has sought to unseal certain documents he says will bolster his arguments. Rosengart claimed some of those documents revealed Britney's private communications and medical records.

"It's beyond the pale," Rosengart said. "What kind of a father does that?"

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Categories / Entertainment, Law

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