Montgomery says in her filing, “There has been a marked increase in the number and severity” of threats via social media, text messages, phone calls and emails. She’s been reporting them to law enforcement and the security firm that was retained by the conservatorship, and says the company recommended 24-7 protection until she can make security improvements at her home and office.
“Since Ms. Spears has requested that Petitioner retain her position as conservator, Petitioner has no intention of abandoning her by resigning because of these threats,” states the filing, which includes a screenshot of a text from Spears that apparently confirms her desire for Montgomery to remain in her position. “However, in order for Petitioner to effectively perform her duties as conservator, her security and safety must be ensured.”
Spears’ court-appointed lawyer Samuel D. Ingham; Bessemer Trust, the financial firm that had been tapped as co-conservator of Spears’ estate along with Jamie; and Spears’ longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, have all recently announced their intentions to step away from the situation. None of them explicitly mentioned threats to their safety, but it’s not a leap to assume it may have been a factor in their decisions.
“Ms. Montgomery is not the only person involved in this Conservatorship who has received threatening communications and/or death threats,” writes Jamie Spears’ attorney Vivian Thoreen in an opposition filed Thursday. “Mr. Spears is informed and believes that the Conservatee’s Court-Appointed Counsel, Mr. Ingham, has received threatening communications including receiving two very threatening voicemail messages just this weekend. Mr. Spears himself and his counsel have also received similar threatening communications, including threats of violence and death, for some time.”
Jamie notes that such protection could cost upwards of $50,000 per month for one person. He suggests other options may be available and should be considered. (It’s unclear from the filings what level of security protection, if any, members of the Spears family and those connected to the conservatorship currently receive.)
“If the Court grants the Ex Parte Petition, it is anticipated that Ms. Montgomery will not be the only one requesting additional protection to be paid by the Conservatorship Estate,” writes Thoreen. “The nasty rhetoric and threatening emails, social media posts, and voicemail messages are pervasive and ongoing and impact multiple people involved in or related to the Conservatorship, including the Conservatee, Mr. Spears, other family members, Ms. Montgomery allegedly, and many of their attorneys and other professionals involved – some more than others, and some more threatening than others. For example, the Conservatee’s sister Jamie Lynne Spears recently pleaded, ‘[C]an we please stop with the death threats, especially the death threats to children.'”
Should the court disagree and grant the petition, Jamie wants it to establish guidelines for security expenses for everyone else too.
“If the Court believes it is best for each individual who wants the Conservatorship Estate to provide them with security coverage to file their own petition, the Court should so state,” writes Thoreen. “Or if the Court believes Mr. Spears may pay for ‘such sums as is necessary’ to any individual who can provide a recommendation from a professional security company, the Court should so state. It is not appropriate for Mr. Spears to be put in the position of picking and choosing who among the many individuals impacted by the Conservatorship should be permitted to charge the expense of live security services to the Conservatorship Estate.”
Also on Wednesday, Montgomery filed a petition asking the court to appoint a guardian ad litem so Spears can choose her own attorney to replace Ingham. This, she argues, would allow that guardian to retain the attorney of Spears’ choice on her behalf, since she currently is unable to enter into such a contract on her own. It would also avoid the need for an evaluation to determine whether she has the capacity to retain an attorney.
“Recognizing both the demands of the conservatorship and Ms. Spears’ desire for more autonomy, Petitioner believes that a Guardian ad Litem for this limited purpose is the only way to both honor her wish to select counsel without a medical evaluation and protect her interests,” states the petition, which includes as an exhibit the full transcript of Spears’ testimony.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.