Ahead of this month's hearing to finally end her conservatorship, who's on Team Britney (and who are they trying to take down)?

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Photo credit: Steve Granitz - Getty Images
Photo credit: Steve Granitz - Getty Images

Since singer (and all-round icon) Britney Spears delivered a damning testimony against her father – and the general running of the conservatorship that she's been locked into for the past thirteen years – interest in her legal case has risen exponentially.

Britney's testimony, combined with the tireless campaigning of the Free Britney movement and the documentaries that appeared to expose what's really been going on off-camera, means she may finally be liberated once and for all come 12 November (her next court date), which is when her legal team are expected to petition to end the conservatorship in its entirety.

Ahead of the hearing, we've broken down who the key players in the Britney Spears conservatorship are: what are their roles? And how did they find themselves at the centre one of pop music's most publicised court cases?

Who is on Team Britney?

Felicia Culotta

Photo credit: FX/Hulu/Controlling Britney Spears
Photo credit: FX/Hulu/Controlling Britney Spears

If you've watched Framing Britney Spears, and its follow up, Controlling Britney Spears, the pop icon's former assistant, Felicia Culotta, will be a familiar face. The pair have known each other since Britney's childhood and as Britney's career took off, Felicia (a family friend) was drafted in as a chaperone due to Britney's mother, Lynne Spears, being unable to tour while younger sister, Jamie Lynn, was still in school.

Their relationship developed far beyond that of employer and employee – and as Felicia pointed out during her documentary interview, she became close friends with the singer and a valued support system. Sadly, Felicia says she hasn't seen or heard from Britney in recent years, which she believes is due to Britney's conservators increasingly restricting access.

During her appearance on both documentaries, Felicia shared details of the relationship dynamic between Britney and her conservators. Some Britney stans have described her as a whistleblower, with many praising her for speaking out against Britney's conservatorship in general.

To that note, the 56-year-old has publicly expressed that she "doesn't understand" why the singer is still under the legal contract, especially "somebody capable of so much that I know firsthand she's capable of."

Matthew Rosengart

Photo credit: Chelsea Guglielmino - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chelsea Guglielmino - Getty Images

After her court appointed lawyer Samuel D Ingham (more on him later) filed papers to resign from his position, Britney was granted permission by a judge to hire a lawyer of her choosing. She opted for Mathew Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor who has worked with A-list clients such as Steven Spielberg and Sean Penn, to represent her in the ongoing conservatorship legal battle.

At his first hearing as Britney's lawyer, the 59-year-old questioned why she had not been permitted to choose her own counsel up until that point, reminding the court it should have been her "constitutional right." Rosengart also argued that her "powerful, compelling [and] honest" testimony from the previous month was evidence that she's "more than capable of hiring her own counsel."

Afterwards, Rosengart spoke to a crowd of Free Britney protestors outside the courthouse. Speaking about Britney's father, Jamie Spears, who he called upon to resign, he said: "The question remains, why is he involved?"

He has also made it clear that he is keen for Jamie and others to face "serious" consequences, should it be proven that he abused his position of power. "Jamie Spears and others are going to face even more serious ramifications for his misconduct. I said at the outset that my firm and I were going to take a top to bottom look at what Jamie Spears and his representatives have done here, that's already in process and will continue... to get justice for Britney."

Who is controlling Britney's conservatorship?

James (Jamie) Spears

Photo credit: AFP - Getty Images
Photo credit: AFP - Getty Images

After Britney's behaviour in 2007 and 2008 was branded "erratic" by the press, her father Jamie Spears petitioned the court for a temporary conservatorship. This was granted and, under the conservatorship, her conservator (who in Britney's case is Jamie) was given the legal right to oversee decisions about her estate and health. The rules of the conservatorship meant Jamie had control of negotiating business deals, allocating how much of her own money Britney could access and restricting who could see her.

But, as the years went on, concern about Britney's wellbeing under the conservatorship began to grow. Fans started to question why the singer was still being held under the agreement, despite being able to repeatedly perform sell-out shows and create new music. Despite this, each year Jamie continued to request that the conservatorship was extended, and each year this was granted.

Things started to unravel for Jamie when he was forced to step down as her primary conservator in 2019, amidst health concerns, as well as being accused of assaulting one of Britney's sons. A year later, the singer petitioned for her father to be removed from the conservatorship completely, but this was denied.

However, in August 2021, in light of growing pressure from the Free Britney movement and the revelations of the Framing Britney Spears and Controlling Britney Spears documentaries, Jamie finally agreed to step down as her conservator – being temporarily replaced by accountant John Zabel (appointed by the court). It's thought Zabel was implemented by Britney's team so that legally Jamie would have to hand over necessary documents which could contain vital evidence.

Vivian Lee Thoreen

Until recently, Thoreen was Jamie Spears' long-term lawyer throughout Britney's conservatorship, joining forces with Jamie in 2008. Her firm, Holland & Knight, have since dropped him as a client, but during her time on the case, Thoreen refuted claims that Jamie has abused his position of power, instead claiming that he helped his daughter regain custody of her children, improved her financial situation and created a safer living environment for her.

Speaking on Good Morning America earlier this year, Thoreen argued that the Free Britney movement had painted Jamie in a bad light. "I understand that every story needs a villain, but people have it so wrong here," she said, before describing Jamie as a "fiercely loving", "dedicated" and "loyal" father.

Lou Taylor

Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images

Lou Taylor runs a business management service, called Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, that works with musicians, athletes, actors, writers, producers and executives. In 2008, the year Britney's conservatorship began, Taylor started speaking publicly on behalf of the singer – prior to this, Taylor had reportedly recommended conservatorships for a range of celebrities including, Lindsay Lohan.

Taylor's name crops up several times in the 2021 Netflix documentary, Britney vs. Spears. The documentary claims that Taylor "led business decisions at times over the course of the conservatorship." The documentary also alleges that Taylor billed Jamie Spears $400,000 for work as Britney's business manager – this raised eyebrows for many Britney fans, who pointed out that Britney did not work during this time period, and had vowed to stop working entirely until her father was removed from her conservatorship.

When asked about Taylor's involvement in Britney's conservatorship for the Netflix documentary, the singer's former assistant, Felicia Culotta, was notably uncomfortable. "I will not touch that one," Culotta said, "Sorry. She will chew me up and spit me out."

More recently, Britney told her followers on Instagram (in a post shared by @unverifiedreport), that she would "call out" Lou Taylor's involvement in her conservatorship.

Robin Greenhill

Photo credit: Phillip Faraone - Getty Images
Photo credit: Phillip Faraone - Getty Images

Greenhill is one of Britney's former business managers, and is the services director of Taylor's business management firm, Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group. Her position within the company meant she had a key role in the decision making of Britney's work life – including her scheduling and fees. Although it's unclear how much Greenhill profited from the conservatorship, The New York Times reported in August 2021 that the company took a 5% commission from Britney's work.

Monetary gain aside, the most shocking claim about Greenhill's involvement came from the Controlling Britney Spears documentary. During the documentary, an ex-employee at Britney’s former security firm claimed that Greenhill had been the driver in bugging Britney's phone, and monitoring her calls and texts – although she has denied any involvement in this illegal activity.

"Robin came up with the idea of, 'Why don't we just take an iPad, sign in with an iCloud on there, the same iCloud that Britney would use on her phone, and that would mirror all activity?' You would be able to see all messages, all FaceTime calls, notes, browser history, photographs," the former employee claimed.

Everyone else

Samuel D Ingham

Samuel Ingham was Britney's court-appointed lawyer for the majority of her 13-year-long conservatorship, up until July of this year when he resigned from the position.

According to TMZ, Ingham was "extremely upset" at the accusations Britney made in her testimony regarding his handling of her case. The singer claimed that she has not been properly advised of her options during her conservatorship, including how to request that it came to an end.

Speaking to Judge Brenda Penny during her testimony, Britney said: "Ma'am, I didn't know I could petition the conservatorship to end it. I'm sorry for my ignorance, but I honestly didn’t know that."

Jodi Montgomery

Photo credit: Kate Green - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kate Green - Getty Images

In 2019, the court placed Jodi Montgomery as Britney's temporary conservator of the person after her father stepped down due to health issues. According to US Weekly, Montgomery (who is a professional conservator) had previously filled the position of Britney's 'care manager'.

Unlike Jamie, who controlled Britney's finances and her estate, Montgomery is in charge of Britney's 'person', meaning she takes care of her personal affairs. This includes access to the singer's medical records and treatments, as well as having a say in who she can and can not see. In this position, Montgomery is also in charge of hiring caretakers and security guards for the 39-year-old.

John Zabel

Following Jamie's suspension as Britney's conservator in September, the court appointed professional accountant John Zabel to take over control of her estate. Britney's lawyer, Rosengart, had petitioned for Zabel to temporarily take on this role, until her upcoming court case on 12 November.

Speaking about Zabel, Rosengart told the crowd outside the court that he is "a highly-esteemed, nationally-recognised, award-winning, certified public accountant with an impeccable record of serving in positions of trust." The lawyer then took a swipe at Britney's father, claiming that Zabel's track record stands in "stark contrast to Mr Spears, a reported alcoholic and gambling addict, with zero financial background or experience in financial matters."

A court hearing to discuss the full termination of Britney's conservatorship will take place on 12 November.

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