Some might call him “toxic,” but Rep. Matt Gaetz might just be “stronger than yesterday.”
The Florida congressman is requesting the House Judiciary Committee hold a hearing on court-ordered conservatorships, specifically referencing the #FreeBritney movement.
Gaetz — who, in addition to being a staunch fan of Donald Trump, is apparently a lifelong fan of Spears — is fighting for the pop star to be freed from her court-ordered conservatorship, as part of his request for Congress to hold a hearing on conservatorship due process.
In a letter to Rep. Jerry Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Gaetz and congressman Jim Jordan name the recent documentary produced by the New York Times, “Framing Britney Spears,” which has brought the Princess of Pop’s conservatorship directly into the spotlight.
“The House Committee on the Judiciary is charged with safeguarding the rights affording to Americans by the U.S. Constitution. These rights include having the free will to guide one’s own affairs and the legal autonomy over one’s own finances. When situations suggest the unjust deprivation of those rights by the government, we have an obligation to conduct oversight and explore potential remedies,” the letter states.
“In recent years, there has been growing public concern about the use of conservatorships to effectively deprive individuals of personal freedoms at the behest of others through the manipulation of the courts,” the letter, submitted on Mar. 8, continues.
“The most striking example is perhaps the case of multi-platinum performing artist Britney Spears,” Gaetz and Jordan write.
The letter specifically calls out Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, who is her co-conservator. Through court appearances and legal letters from the star’s court-appointed attorney, Spears has noted that she is “afraid” of her father and refuses to perform again until her father is no longer in charge of her career.
“The facts and circumstancing giving rise to this arrangement remain in dispute but involve questionable motives and legal tactics by her father and now-conservator, Jamie Spears,” the letter says, later stating that despite the musician’s “pleas,” her father remains a conservator of her estate.
In a hearing held just days after the documentary premiered, a judge overruled Spears’ father’s objections to a joint conservatorship order, while also denying the star’s request to remove her father entirely from the conservatorship. Jamie Spears remains a co-conservator, along with Bessemer Trust Co.
“It’s no secret that my client does not want her father as co-conservator, but we recognize that removal is a separate issue,” the singer’s attorney said, addressing the court, at a hearing last month.
In the letter, Gaetz writes, “Ms. Spears is not alone…Given the constitutional freedoms at stake and opaqueness of these arrangements, it is incumbent upon our Committee to convene a hearing to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships.”
Spears’ conservatorship has been subject of controversy ever since 2008 when the star was placed into the court-ordered arrangement. With the recent documentary, public interest has exploded and Spears has received widespread support from her legions of fans across the globe, in addition to A-list celebrities, like Howard Stern, Kim Kardashian West and Sarah Jessica Parker, who have publicly spoken out against Spears’ conservatorship, since watching the doc.
Now that Spears’ situation is becoming a federal issue, perhaps it will finally become time to #FreeBritney.