Britney Spears does not have to sit for deposition in legal battle with father, judge rules

A judge in Los Angeles sided Britney Spears on Wednesday (July 27) and refused her father’s demand that she sit down for a deposition.

At a hearing Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Brenda Penny concluded her previous preliminary decision to refuse a request by lawyers for Jamie Spears to depose his daughter amid ongoing legal proceedings over his alleged wrongdoing during her controversial 13-year legal conservatorship.

Britney’s lawyer Matthew Rosengart, argued that there was no reason for the pop star to face a dismissal in the case, calling it an act of revenge by her father and his lawyers. “Whether he believes it or accepts it, what she went through under him [was traumatic]. What would a decent father do? He would say, ‘It’s my daughter, I love my daughter,'” Rosengart said during the hearing. “There is still hope that he will sit down with his lawyer and talk about doing the right thing. A deposition of Britney Spears would re-traumatize her.”

Jamie’s lawyers, meanwhile, have indicated they are likely to appeal, saying they are entitled to more information to defend their client. “As is the case with most [Rosengart’s] arguments, it is aimed at the media and not at the court,” said Alex Weingarten. “Mr. Spears did right by his daughter. Mr. Spears protected her beautifully from Rasputins and Svengalis for 13 years and the years before [entering the conservatorship]. By proof, not talk, the truth will come out. There is no evidence of Mr. Spears’ wrongdoing and he will be vindicated.”

To this, Rosengart objected, saying, “Mr. Spears’ reputation was destroyed by himself long before my company got into this. If he wants to go on TV or write a book to vindicate himself, good luck.”

Although she ruled on Britney’s deposition, Judge Penny did not rule on another key issue pending before her: Whether executives at the pop star’s former management company, Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group, must sit for depositions and turn over more documents to Britney’s legal team .

Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, has vowed to investigate allegations of serious wrongdoing by Jamie, including taking millions of dollars and illegally spying on Britney. Earlier this month, he won a judgment that forced Jamie himself to hand over more documents and sit for a deposition.

Rosengart says Tri Star, Britney’s longtime corporate executives, has key information for this investigation — and potentially participated in some of the bad behavior — but has chosen to “wall off and obfuscate” rather than cooperate.

In October he rallied Tri Star and bosses Lou Taylor and Robin Greenhillciting claims made in a blockbuster New York Times documentary that Greenhill and others at Tri Star were involved in creating an “intense surveillance apparatus” to help Jamie spy on Britney. It allegedly included “mirroring” the iCloud account used on her phones so they could monitor her in real time.

Rosengart also claims that Tri Star played an integral role in the creation of the conservatory in 2008, and then “profited handsomely” to the tune of $18 million. He has pointed to emails in which Taylor allegedly discussed how to select a judge who would oversee the conservatorship.

In November, Tri Star asked Judge Penny to dismiss Rosengart’s subpoenas, arguing that it had already shared a “complete set of its books and records” and had no role in any of the alleged wrongdoing: “Tri Star played no role in proposing that the establishment of the conservatory [and] no one at Tri Star ever suggested monitoring Ms. Spears’ Electronic Communications.”

But at Wednesday’s hearing, after arguments from both sides, Judge Penny left the issue open pending a final decision next month. In a preliminary ruling, she suggested she would likely grant Rosengart’s subpoena but would limit discovery to information relating to the most recent period of the lengthy conservatorship.

In a statement after the hearing, Tri Star’s attorney Scott Edelman said the judge’s potential ruling would be exactly what the company wanted.

“Judge Penny’s preliminary ruling was clear — discovery will be limited to events and charges relevant to the 12th accounting, just as Tri Star had requested,” Edelman said, referring to the final term of the conservatorship. “In short, today was a great day for Tri Star – regardless of what Ms. Spears’ attorney may have tried to spin on the courthouse steps. We look forward to being deposed, advancing this process, and ensuring that the full truth finally comes out shared.”

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