Britney Spears Lawyer Mathew Rosengart on Conservatorship Case

For 13 years, nine months and 12 days, Britney Spears languished in the role of protector as the world watched. Despite her global fanbase having courted #FreeBritney for over a decade, nothing has changed – until everything has worked out.

On June 23, Spears appeared remotely before judge Brenda Penny of LA County Superior Court and broke public silence in an emotional and fiery speech. “It’s shameful and dismaying about what I’ve been through, and that’s the main reason I’ve never said it publicly,” Spears said, describing conservatorship as abusive. use and ask the court to let her choose her own attorney. “It is my wish and my dream for all of this to come to an end.”

Within weeks, she had an attorney of her choice defend her for the first time: Greenberg Traurig’s partner, Mathew Rosengart. Less than four months later, the conservatorship was terminated. Spears was free. Rosengart, a corporate litigator and former Justice Department trial attorney, is no stranger to high-profile cases, having represented the likes of Sean Penn and Winona Ryder — but he’s also no law. probate attorney. So why would he want to take on a controversial case that ostensibly at least outside of his garage?

“I was worried, even before joining, about why this woman seemed to be deprived of some of her basic rights and civil liberties,” Rosengart said. CHEAP. “As a former federal prosecutor, I have experience with criminal defendants accused of heinous crimes, and they have the right to choose their own attorney, but Britney doesn’t have that right.”

Beyond civil liberties issues, Rosengart said Spears’ June 23 testimony struck a chord: He heard the voice of a woman who had been bullied. “I always hated being bullied, even growing up,” he said. “Bullying a woman is even more unacceptable and disgusting. It troubles me both personally and professionally, and I feel I can help stop it, as an attorney and others. That’s the commitment I’ve made, and it’s really rewarding to be able to help. “

It builds on the lessons he learned while working at DOJ. “You put on the white hat and do the right thing regardless of what’s right,” Rosengart said. “Quote from Justice Sutherland in Berger v. US about the responsibilities of a prosecutor in being a servant of the law – ‘Sin will not escape nor endure innocence’ – has always been a guide to how I litigate. “

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Rosengart, with Spears, who posted this photo on her Instagram on February 2, said: “It has been an incredibly arduous but exciting journey.
@ Britneyspears / Instagram / Courtesy Of Mathew Rosengart

In her first statements as Spears’ attorney, Rosengart promised to act “strongly and expeditiously” to remove her father, Jamie Spears, as conservator of the estate. Less than two weeks later, he formally filed a request to do so. The move was met with some skepticism – including a “surreal” moment in which Rosengart recalls watching CNN experts question why he didn’t immediately try to end his rights to protect manage.

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“It’s a strategy,” said Rosengart. “I know we would be able to get a hearing much quicker if we tried to sort this apart – move to suspending the father first and remove that obstacle on the way to termination.”

He is also thinking a few steps ahead. Rosengart suspects that Jamie’s attorneys “wanted to avoid the stigma of having their client suspended” and also realized that if Jamie was disqualified, he would have to file attorney-friendly documents. property owner. Jamie not only opposes the suspension, but also petitions to end the conservatorship altogether. After Jamie was suspended on September 29 – and officially filed in favor of termination – Rosengart “knew the wind was behind us.”

“One of the best days I had on the case was when I was able to call Britney on September 29 right after the hearing,” Rosengart recalls. “She was away at the time, and I told her she would be able to wake up the next morning – for the first time in 13 years – without her father being the custodian of the estate. That’s what she wanted, and she was very excited.”

So are her fans. Rosengart isn’t on social media, but plenty of friends have sent him memes and tweets to make sure he knows his new nicknames, including Rosengod and Rosenzaddy. “I had to search for ‘zaddy,'” Rosengart laughed. “All of that is humbling and shameful. You can’t ignore the media aspects of it but, if it does, it forces me to focus and not be distracted by the attention.”

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Since breaking her silence, Britney has directly shared her feelings about conservatorship and the people who connect with her fans via social media. She has indicated that she is not done fighting yet and intends to sue several people involved in conservatorship. But even if she decides not to go that route, the probate issue still has some major endings.

“We’re still looking at everything, including tracking money,” Rosengart said. On July 27, he will return to court to settle outstanding accounting issues and Jamie Spears’ application demanding that Britney pay his ongoing legal fees. That’s “over the $6 million he has received in fees and commissions over the years and many more millions of dollars paid to his attorneys,” said Rosengart, who apparently didn’t drop gas. “Their application is not only legally worthless; under the circumstances, I believe it is also morally abominable”.

The impact of the termination was widespread, and Rosengart says it was all down to her customers: “Britney gets the credit. She shone a light not only on her own conservatorship, but also on conservatorship and guardianship in general, and that opened my eyes. I can’t think of another issue in these critical times that has brought the far right, the left and everyone in the middle together. The US Congress is looking at what happened here in a completely nonpartisan way.”

Advocates are calling for major change on behalf of those with unwanted patronage who do not have the influence and influence of a global superstar; members of Congress asked Spears and Rosengart to testify about their experiences; and the federal “Britney Freedom Act” is pending, while California lawmakers have passed legislation designed to protect the rights of conservators.

Rosengart said: “I am still processing what happened and I will work in the near future. “It has been an extremely arduous but exciting journey. When I walked out of court on July 14, I wasn’t sure if we could achieve what in other circumstances would have taken years in the space of a few months. Our strategic decisions and active implementation of them, as well as Britney’s steadfastness and determination, are all contributing factors.”

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It’s a letter from former US Supreme Court Justice David Souter that really gives Rosengart everything. His first job after graduating from Boston College Law School in 1987 was as Souter’s clerk on the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and they remained close over the years. “He literally has thousands of books in his house, but he doesn’t watch TV and knows very little about pop culture,” says Rosengart. “Just as he didn’t know who Sean Penn was when I introduced them at my wedding, he didn’t know Britney either.”

This makes the response from Souter, who in a letter of recommendation dating back to 1988 praised Rosengart’s instincts, intelligence, and integrity, even more compelling. A few weeks after winning the case, he received a text from Souter “expressing pride in the professionalism he thought I had conducted myself and how I stood up for my clients,” Rosengart said. . “It means the whole world to me and makes everything complete.”

As for Spears herself, with management no longer in control of her, she introduced new music on social media and in February she signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster that is said to be worth 15 million dollars. Besides? Rosengart shot back what he said on the court steps in November. “What’s next for Britney – and this is the first time this can be said in about a decade – is down to one person: Britney .”

A version of this story first appeared in the March 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to sign up.

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