Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears, is requesting a California appeals court to reverse a ruling that prevents him from deposing his daughter in their ongoing conservatorship case. Jamie argues that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny was wrong in her July decision, reported Rolling Stone. The judge ruled that Spears was not required to testify under oath about her allegations that Jamie abused and bullied her and used "illicit bugging devices" to invade her privacy, restricting her "fundamental civil liberties."
"The court erred when it shielded Britney from deposition without good cause and in violation of California discovery law," his new appeal, filed Friday in the state's Second Appellate District, contends. According to legal documents obtained by TMZ, Jamie disputes the court's decision to require a deposition from him while Spears can avoid it. The filings state, "The right to take a deposition can rarely be denied. In California, discovery is a matter of right."
The trial judge determined that Jamie could obtain anything he wanted from Spears in writing. However, Jamie says it's absurd that Judge Penny prohibited Spears's deposition because Jamie could get the information by "written discovery," and then denied him "nearly all" his written discovery requests. "These rulings were erroneous," his appeal claims. As a result, he has asked the court to overturn the decision, saying "appropriate protections" such as a special master or discovery referee could address any "legitimate concerns" about his requests.
Moreover, Jamie's legal team argues that Sperars and her attorney, Mathew Rosengart, did not establish good cause to prohibit her deposition in light of her numerous allegations against Jamie. Jamie claims the court could have limited Spears's topics and questions if it had issues with her deposition but ended the process altogether instead. In the view of Jamie's legal team, the trial judge's ruling violates basic fairness that if one party is required to take a deposition, the other should be required to do the same. "This court must intervene to ensure a fair proceeding," argues Jamie and his lawyer Alex Weingarten in the 59-page petition.
Additionally, Jamie wants to overturn an order blocking discovery from Sherine Ebadi, the former FBI agent hired as a forensic investigator by Spears and Rosengart. "Jamie has a fundamental right to discovery from Britney and Ebadi — both of whom accused him of serious misconduct in publicly filed documents — so that he can test the factual bases for those allegations and properly defend himself," his court documents state, per Rolling Stone. "By denying Jamie all of the discovery he requested to defend himself against serious allegations of wrongdoing, the probate court denied him due process." During her ruling, Judge Penny said she wanted to ensure she did not place an unreasonable burden on the superstar.
Jamie has filed to obtain a deposition while battling what he believes to be "unsubstantiated claims" made against him. He has sought permission to handle Spears' finances dating back to 2019 and collect legal fees from her estate. "Whether [Jamie Spears] believes it or not, his daughter feels traumatized by what she went through at his hands for more than a decade," Rosengart said during the July hearing. "He has told the world that he loves his daughter. If that is true, not only should he accept the court's ruling, he should withdraw his motion. It's what a decent man would do."
Weingarten stated at the hearing he was "flabbergasted" to learn neither Jamie's daughter nor her firm is entitled to discovery while he must provide his own. As he defended Jamie's record, the attorney promised to appeal."He protected her beautifully for 13 years," Weingarten told the court. "He did nothing wrong." Although Judge Penny is trying to resolve pending motions and end the contentious case, it is unclear how long it will take the appeals court to rule on Jamie's request.
Spears was released from her nearly 14-year conservatorship on Nov. 12 after making statements to Judge Penny in June and July 2021. She described her father's conservatorship, which largely controlled her finances, health care, and relationships as "cruel" and "abusive." Over the weekend, Spears shared a now-deleted Instagram post saying the conservatorship had been so emotionally and psychologically damaging that she "probably will never perform again."