Britney Spears’ guardianship hearing – the first in the case since July – has begun. The New York Times has reporters in the courtroom and will update as soon as there are any developments.
Her fans started arriving more than an hour before her scheduled start, but Ms Spears is not expected at the hearing, chaired by Judge Brenda Penny at a downtown Los Angeles courthouse. As an attorney, Ms Spears is not required to attend the regular status hearings in the long-standing case and has generally chosen not to do so. She attended the June 23 hearing, when she spoke at length publicly for the first time about the guardianship, calling it abusive and calling for it to end without a psychiatric assessment. But even then, she appeared from a distance.
Unlike this hearing, in which live courtroom audio was available online to accommodate coronavirus protocols, today’s hearing will not be accessible to the public via the stream. (In addition to changing the precautions against Covid-19, Judge Penny expressed dismay at the audio sharing of Ms Spears’ testimony online, despite her orders not to record it.) Limited members of the public and the community press were allowed to attend in person.
Lawyers in the case – often in double digits, thanks to the number of parties now involved – can assist in person or remotely via video call or phone, as can their clients, including Lynne and James Spears, the singer’s parents.
Despite the fact that some of the attorneys involved, including those for Ms Spears ‘father, are arguing against her stated wishes, the legal costs of the case are generally charged to Ms Spears’ estate. Representatives for the singer and her mother raised the issue with the court, calling some of the fees excessive.
One of the lawyers involved in the case, Samuel D. Ingham III, Ms Spears’ court-appointed lawyer who was replaced in July, earned more than $ 3 million in the 13 years he l ‘represented. Ms Spears is not known to question Mr Ingham’s fees.