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Judge Suspends Britney Spears' Dad From Her Conservatorship

NOEL KING, HOST:

A judge suspended Jamie Spears' conservatorship of his daughter's estate yesterday. And outside of the LA courtroom, Britney's fans cheered. NPR's Mandalit del Barco was there.

(CHEERING)

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: This is what it sounded like outside the courthouse when word came down that Jamie Spears would no longer control Britney Spears' $60 million fortune.

VAL DODD: It's like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders.

DEL BARCO: Val Dodd flew in from New York to be at the #FreeBritney rally.

DODD: Ever since we heard that she was allegedly in a mental facility against her will, it was our responsibility to make it heard.

DEL BARCO: Being held against her will, forced to take lithium and birth control - these were some of the allegations Britney Spears made in a phone call at the last hearing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BRITNEY SPEARS: I've been so angry, and I cry every day. It concerns me. I'm told I'm not allowed to expose the people who did this to me.

DEL BARCO: Spears did not address the court this time. Instead, she let her attorney, Mathew Rosengart, speak for her. My client is begging the court, he said, to end this Kafkaesque nightmare. The former federal prosecutor repeatedly quoted Spears, calling her father's relationship with her toxic, abusive and cruel.

In asking that Jamie Spears be removed as her financial conservator, Rosengart cited allegations made just days ago in a New York Times documentary. Among them, a former member of Spears' security team, Alex Vlasov, said Spears' father had secretly and illegally recorded her private phone conversations.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "CONTROLLING BRITNEY SPEARS")

ALEX VLASOV: Looking for bad influence, looking for potential illegal activity that might happen. But they would also monitor conversations with her friends, with her lawyer.

DEL BARCO: Jamie Spears' attorney, who appeared in court via video, called this quote pure rhetoric and said her client had always acted in his daughter's best interest. In the end, Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny said the father-daughter arrangement was toxic. She ordered Jamie Spears immediately replaced by a certified public accountant approved by Britney Spears. Penny also set a new court date, November 12, when she'll decide whether to terminate the conservatorship altogether, something both Britney and Jamie Spears say they want.

Outside the hearing, #FreeBritney supporters asked Rosengart if he thought the pop star would finally be free of her father and the other conservator who controls her health and well-being.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MATHEW ROSENGART: I believe at this point that is inevitable. She's free today in a sense, but there's a larger issue here.

DEL BARCO: Which is toxic conservatorships, something Congress is looking into now on behalf of an estimated 1.3 million Americans who are controlled by legal arrangements similar to Britney Spears.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.