Britney Spears’ father removed as her guardian

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Britney Spears  father was removed from his controversial role as his daughter s guardian  by a Los Angeles judge, ending a long and bitter legal battle by the pop princess.

Jamie Spears was suspended with immediate effect and replaced with a temporary conservator “in the best interests” of the singer, said Judge Brenda Penny, calling the present arrangement “untenable.”

“Mr Spears is ordered to turn over all the conservatorship assets,” said Penny.

Spears  father has controlled her life for the past 13 years, under a legal arrangement the 39-year-old US singer has slammed as “abusive.”

Wednesday s move came after a years-long campaign that played out in public, and after the emergence in the last week of two new powerful documentaries featuring allegations that Jamie Spears had bugged his daughter s phone calls.

Dozens of supporters had gathered outside the courtroom ahead of the hearing, many carrying colorful signs with slogans such as “Jail Jamie” and the ubiquitous “Free Britney” plea that has been taken up around the world by her supporters on social media.

Spears  lawyer Mathew Rosengart described her father as a “cruel, toxic and abusive man,” CNN reported.

“Britney deserves to wake up tomorrow without her father as her conservator,” Rosengart said. “It is what my client wants, it is what my client needs, it is what my client deserves.”

Spears  fiance Sam Asghari reacted to the ruling on Instagram, posting “FREE BRITNEY! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!” along with a photo of what appears to be him handing the singer a rose.

In a motion filed this week, Spears  lawyers said: “Every day that goes by with him as conservator — every day and every hour — is one in which he causes his daughter anguish and pain.”

–  In prison  –

Those claims were seemingly bolstered by a New York Times documentary released Friday that alleged Jamie Spears had surveillance devices secretly installed in his daughter s bedroom to record her conversations.

“It really reminded me of somebody that was in prison,” a former security firm employee told the “Controlling Britney Spears” filmmakers.

The pop star s lawyers this week said the Times  allegations about her father showed “horrifying and unconscionable invasions of his adult daughter s privacy.”

Jamie Spears denies any illegal surveillance took place.

Another new documentary — Netflix s “Britney vs Spears,” released on Tuesday — claims the singer twice tried to hire her own lawyer in the early years of the conservatorship, but was denied.

In July, Spears was finally successful in appointing her own lawyer — Rosengart — and last month, her father filed a petition for the conservatorship to be ended.

The judge appointed accountant John Zabel as a temporary conservator of Spears  estate, in an arrangement she said can last until the end of the year.

Spears  lawyers asked that a hearing to terminate the conservatorship in its entirety be held in 45 days.

–  Never fit to serve  –

The lawyers had accused Jamie Spears of seeking to delay the end of the guardianship for his own financial benefit.

His efforts are “a subterfuge, designed to avoid the stigma of being suspended and its consequences, including the likelihood of disgorgement and rejection of outstanding legal fees,” the petition alleges.

“Disgorgement” is a legal term meaning the repayment of ill-gotten gains.

Spears  representatives and fans have long accused her father of profiting from the guardianship, which was set up after a highly public 2007 breakdown when the shaven-headed star attacked a paparazzo s car at a gas station.

The lawyers have said her father was “never fit to serve,” citing in their petition allegations of his “reported alcoholism” and “trauma he caused his daughter since her childhood.”