Pop star Britney Spears may finally be free from her conservatorship but that doesn’t mean she’s free from the ongoing court case with her father, Jamie Spears, concerning the payment of his legal fees as well as allegations of eavesdropping and electronic surveillance.
As it turns out, the father-daughter duel has turned into a contentious battle — with one Top 50 Biglaw firm making its entrance into the Los Angeles entertainment law market in a rather curious way, with litigation tactics that have raised a number of brows after taking on a reviled client. Hot off the heels of the Gordon Caplan scandal, the firm we’re speaking about is Willkie Farr & Gallagher, which is currently ranked at No. 39 on the most recent Am Law 100.
Willkie opened its Los Angeles office less than a year ago, and Alex Weingarten, who serves as chair of the firm’s entertainment litigation practice, represents Jamie Spears, who stands accused of conflicts of interest and financial mismanagement during his daughter’s conservatorship. Like Willkie’s Los Angeles office, Weingarten’s representation is in its infancy (with the elder Spears formerly represented by Holland & Knight). Prior to lateraling to Willkie, Weingarten worked at Venable, where he was sued in 2019 for sexual harassment and accused of being a “known office bully.”
It’s been widely reported that things have gotten quite heated in court between Weingarten and Mathew Rosengart, the Greenberg Traurig partner who took home the title of Above the Law’s Lawyer of the Year for freeing Britney Spears from her conservatorship. In fact, the judge on the case, Brenda Penny, once told the pair they needed to “bring the temperature down” during a hearing.
It was during that fateful hearing when Weingarten not only claimed the eavesdropping and surveillance allegations — which were well-documented in a New York Times investigation and corroborated by an esteemed former FBI agent who worked with Robert Mueller during his time as special counsel — were somehow planted by Rosengart, but that they “didn’t happen.” At the time, Liz Day, one of the journalists on the bombshell Times report, said this:
Rosengart countered that if the surveillance and eavesdropping “didn’t happen,” then “let’s see what Mr. Spears says under oath when he is deposed.” Months have now passed and a deposition still hasn’t taken place.
In a new motion to compel, Rosengart claims that Britney’s father has been “running and hiding” from being deposed and “stonewalling” the case by refusing to comply. Not only that, but the motion claims that Jamie Spears, through his attorney, has been harassing and bullying Britney by dumping more than 200 document and discovery requests on her, all while evading deposition and failing to timely supply his own documents.
The fiery filing (available in full on the next page) concludes thusly:
Because it is impossible to sum up in one paragraph, or even in a full motion, the myriad reasons Mr. Spears can no longer avoid answering for his deeds, we conclude simply with this: since childhood and certainly over the past decade, Britney Spears has been forced to live under her father’s thumb, even as she gave him an identity and supported him financially; yet he has never been required to answer for his conduct, including his gross, self-interested misuse of his fiduciary position. For Mr. Spears to contend that he will answer for his actions if (and only if) his daughter’s personal, private life is further exposed demonstrates just how misguided he is as a fiduciary and as a father. Enough is enough. Britney Spears will tolerate it no longer, and with respect, neither should this Court.
Finally, we once again ask and implore, in all sincerity, that Mr. Spears and his counsel do what is right, voluntarily. Be decent. Please, stop harassing and bullying your daughter. Please, leave your daughter alone.
Chris Crocker couldn’t have said it better himself. LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE — AND THIS TIME, LEAVE HER ALONE AS A MATTER OF LAW!
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.