Britney Spears Won’t Have to Sit for Deposition in Legal Battle With Dad, Judge Rules

Los Angeles judge sided with Britney Spears on Wednesday and rejected her father’s demand that she sit for a deposition.

At a hearing Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Brenda Penny finalized her earlier tentative decision to deny a request from attorneys for Jamie Spears to depose his daughter amid ongoing litigation over his alleged misconduct during her controversial 13-year legal conservatorship.

Britney’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart, argued there was no reason for the pop star to face a deposition in the case, and called 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 dad do? He would say, ‘That’s my daughter, I love my daughter,’” Rosengart said during the hearing. “There is still hope that he sits with his counsel and talks about doing the right thing. A deposition of Britney Spears would re-traumatize her.”

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Jamie’s attorneys, meanwhile, have indicated they will likely appeal, saying they are entitled to more information to defend their client. “As is the case with most of [Rosengart’s] arguments, it is directed 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 evidence, not speeches, the truth will come out. There is no evidence regarding Mr. Spears’ misconduct and he will be vindicated.”

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

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Though she ruled on Britney’s deposition, Judge Penny didn’t issue a ruling on another key question pending before her: Whether executives at the pop star’s former management firm, 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 by Jamie, including taking millions of dollars and illegally spying on Britney. Earlier this month, he won a ruling forcing Jamie himself to turn over more documents and sit for a deposition.

Rosengart says the Tri Star, Britney’s longtime business managers, have key information for that probe — and potentially participated in some of the bad behavior — but has chosen “stonewall and obfuscate” rather than cooperate.

In October, he subpoenaed Tri Star and execs Lou Taylor and Robin Greenhill, citing allegations 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. That allegedly included “mirroring” the iCloud account used on her phones, allowing them to monitor her in real time.

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

In November, Tri Star asked Judge Penny to reject Rosengart’s subpoenas, arguing it had already shared a “complete set of its books and records” and had had no role in any of the alleged wrongdoing: “Tri Star played no part whatsoever in suggesting the establishment of the conservatorship [and] no one at Tri Star has ever suggested monitoring Ms. Spears’ electronic communications.”

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But at Wednesday’s hearing, after arguments from both sides, Judge Penny left the issue undecided until a final ruling next month. In a tentative ruling, she suggested that she would likely grant Rosengart’s subpoena, but would restrict discovery to information pertaining to most recent period of the long conservatorship.

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

“Judge Penny’s tentative ruling was clear — discovery is going to be restricted to events and fees relevant to the 12th Accounting, just as Tri Star had requested,” Edelman said, referring to the final period of the conservatorship. “In short, today was a great day for Tri Star — whatever Ms. Spears’s counsel may have tried to spin on the courthouse steps. We look forward to being deposed, advancing this process and ensuring that the full truth is finally shared.”

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