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Judge Weighs Company's Withdrawal From Co-Managing Britney Spears' Conservatorship

A #FreeBritney activist protests against keeping her in a conservatorship earlier this year in Los Angeles.
Matt Winkelmeyer
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Getty Images
A #FreeBritney activist protests against keeping her in a conservatorship earlier this year in Los Angeles.

Updated July 2, 2021 at 6:49 PM ET

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge confirmed Friday that she will soon hear a petition filed by Bessemer Trust, a wealth management firm, to remove itself as a planned co-conservator of pop icon Britney Spears' financial dealings.

The firm asked to leave the arrangement in a request filed in court on Thursday. The company cited the singer's anguished comments in court late last month as the reason for its departure. On Friday, Judge Brenda Penny set the date for hearing Bessemer's request for July 14.

The company said in its filing Thursday that until Spears spoke in court on June 23, it had believed that Spears was in the conservatorship voluntarily, and that she had consented to Bessemer Trust's entrance as co-conservator alongside Spears' father, Jamie Spears.

In its filing, Bessemer stated: "As a result of the conservatee's testimony at the June 23 hearing, however, Petitioner [Bessemer Trust] has become aware that the conservatee objects to the continuance of her conservatorship and desires to terminate the conservatorship. Petitioner has heard the conservatee and respects her wishes."

The company also said its role had not yet taken effect. It wrote that it is "not currently authorized to act, has taken no actions as conservator, has made no decisions as conservator, has received no assets of the estate [and] has taken no fees."

On Wednesday, Judge Penny denied the singer's request to have her father removed from the financial aspects of her conservatorship.

As of now, Spears' court-appointed lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham III, has not filed a petition to terminate the conservatorship. The next court date is scheduled for July 14.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: July 3, 2021 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Benny approved a request for Bessemer Trust to remove itself from the Britney Spears conservatorship. The court will hear Bessemer's petition to be removed on July 14.
Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.

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