Thursday, March 13, 2008

Justice for Britney?

by Tina Dirmann

I am loathe to add to the endless volumes already written about the ups and downs of poor little rich girl Britney Spears and her ongoing mental health issues.

But I think it's appropriate to take a moment to address an angle I've been hearing a lot lately. Namely, that Jamie Spears, Britney's father, who has been named temporary conservator of his daughter's estate, is really only interested in getting his hands on his daughter's millions. The allegation is so outrageously inappropriate, I'm not quite sure where to begin.

Let's start with the obvious. Clearly, this is a young lady in trouble. We've all seen her very public meltdowns stretching back more than a year. And who was there, stepping in to "help" the fallen pop princess? A new boyfriend -- a married paparazzi photographer, actually. I'm sure his motives were pure. . . . And before that, a character named Sam Lutfi, who has since been accused of grinding up narcotics and putting them in Britney's food.

The situation became so sad, Jamie Spears had no choice but to intercede. And yes, I know the strikes against him. It's true, he is otherwise unemployed. He does have a bankruptcy in his background, while struggling to support his family, way before Britney ever hit it big. And he has been very estranged from his daughter in recent months. I contend, however, that the last point is a direct result of Britney's sick mind.

It's typical of people suffering from a mental illness (bipolar disorder, in Britney's case) to have extreme paranoid episodes and accuse those closest to them of siding with the enemy, whoever that enemy is.

And that's exactly what Britney did, accusing her father of betraying her when he publicly sided with an old manager who demanded Britney enroll herself in rehab. Jamie did do that, of course, but only because he could see his daughter was hurting and needed something, anything, to get better. Britney enrolled in the rehab, and hated them for it.

Of course, it turned out, she wasn't addicted to drugs. In fact, anything she did may have been an effort to self-medicate as a yet-undiagnosed mental illness began taking over.

Most recently, a judge ordered that Jamie Spears' conservatorship should not only continue, but that he should be paid, from Britney's estate, $2500 a week for his service. The estate was also ordered to pay for the lease of a car. I know, this feeds right into the conspiracy theorists out there who want to call Jamie a money-grubbing father with questionable interests.

But I disagree.

I don't have a problem with Jamie getting funds while managing Britney's affairs. For me, the bottom line is, he loves his daughter. I believe that. I've spoken to people in her inner circle who echo that.

And I do believe he is there to protect her from the likes of paparazzi boyfriends and other "pals" with questionable motives -- because without him, that's who would be running wild with her credit cards and check books. She'd be a lamb in a field of wolves, too mentally vulnerable to protect herself.

And let's not forget that Jamie has to check in every few months with a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner, who reviews the case and has the discretion to either remove Jamie's role, or extend it, as he did on March 8, giving him conservatorship status until at least July 31.

I say it was a good move. I applaud the court. This was a "just" decision. And I think even Britney will see that, eventually.

Hopefully, she is finally getting the treatment she needs. And we'll only see her improve. It would be awfully nice to see again the beautiful, talented pop princess we all came to know and love.

But until then, her dad is standing by her side -- on her side.


Anonymous said...

Tina, I didn't think I'd want to read anything more about Brittany but you proved me wrong. Very interestng angle on the destructive life of a troubled young woman.

Kathryn Casey said...

Hey Tina, Great post. I know very little about Jamie Spears, and I found this interesting. Like the poster above, I thought I was over the top with Britney, but this really added a new dimension to her story.

Katherine said...

I've read all this carrying on about him getting money from his daughter. Well $2500 sounds like a lot BUT, the man had a job as a chef and lived somewhere that requires rent or a mortgage payment taxes, etc.

Basically, his whole life is on hold. So no, I don't think he's exactly making a killing on this.

Stacy Dittrich said...


Do we know what is going on with any criminal investigation of Sam Lutfi? Obviously, drugging another is a crime, and they could almost make a pretty tight case for attempted murder if they felt strongly enough. The fact he was controlling her money and assets says a lot to prove their case!

Anonymous said...

That isn't a lot of money at all in California and anyone else that is granted conservatorship is entitled to compensation so he should be as well. An attorney or an accountant would charge way more than that. I am thinking she may be finally getting the parental guidance she has always needed.

Kathryn Casey said...

Hope so, Leah.

Tina D said...

The LAPD say there is no pending criminal investigation against Sam Lutfi. Part of the problem is that the "drugging" was an admission from Sam himself, to Britney's parents, but he claims it was just prescriptions meds given to control Brit's depression and something for attention deficit disorder. And so far, there is no other evidence to suggest he was involved in drugging her with other narcotics. But I think a lot of us probably see shades of Anna Nicole Smith here -- a mentally incapacitated star controlled by prescription drugs, fed to her by a male associate supposedly acting in her best interest.
I think the best Brit's parents could do here is add Sam's admission into their case for a restraining order against Sam, which they successfully obtained.

Anonymous said...

I hope dad can get her on the right road again. What a waste if not.

Tina D said...

Some of you have asked me for an update on the Lutfi case (TRO). He is in court today, actually. Also, see below, mildly interesting update from Obviously, I don't quite agree with their take:

DARK DAYS Spears (Photo: Getty Images)
When Britney Spears is finally off restriction, her BFF will be there. But for the next 30 days, Spears ballcapped former walker Sam Lutfi (who was slapped with a restraining order) has agreed to lay off contact while his lawyers figure out a longterm arrangement.

"Everything is quiet and peaceful on all sides," Lutfi spokesman Michael Sands tells Radar. Unless, of course, you're conserva-dad Jamie Spears. Sands' other client, self-declared Britney advocate, attorney Jon Eardley, is scheduled to go to court today with an evaluation of the Spears' conservatorship by renown UCLA law profession William McGovern. In it, McGovern rips the judge's ruling in the Spears case, essentially arguing that Spears' visitors are limited and she can't meet with an attorney to fight her way into independence.

Sands also blasted out e-mails Sunday evening questioning whether Jamie Spears, who'd declared bankruptcy in the past, is fit to handle Britney's estate, and the News of the World is reporting that government officials are secretly looking into Spears financial affairs, a claim Sands has made to Radar before.