Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and three of his Republican colleagues invited pop icon Britney Spears to testify before Congress amid her ongoing conservatorship battle that the GOP has embraced as one of its numerous culture wars.
In a letter dated Wednesday, Gaetz wrote to Spears that he and other Republican lawmakers acknowledge that she has been “mistreated by America’s legal system.”
“We want to help,” Gaetz wrote. “The United States Congress should hear your story and be inspired to bipartisan action. What happened to you should never happen to any other American. If you will speak to Congress, we are ready to listen.”
Gaetz said that he and Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Burgess Owens (R-UT) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) share “deep concern” with Spears’ conservatorship battle and said that the pop star’s testimony “can blow that door wide open, giving hope to millions.”
“Your life, liberty, and happiness have been taken from you,” Gaetz wrote. “Please take advantage of the empowerment that public congressional testimony can unlock.”
Spears’ involuntary conservatorship was enacted 13 years ago and initially began as a temporary order when the Grammy-winning singer was hospitalized for mental health issues in 2008. Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, was granted the authority by courts to manage the celebrity’s daily and financial affairs ever since then.
The legal battle over Spears’ conservatorship rose to prominence when the New York Times released a documentary earlier this year examining Spears’ tumultuous court battle for the control of her estate. The documentary followed Spears’ fan-led movement known as “Free Britney.”
Last week, Spears described her conservatorship as “abusive” to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. Spears said she feels restricted from living “a full life” due to the conservatorship, claiming that it banned her from getting married, removing her IUD contraception so that she could have another child, and forced her to receive psychiatric evaluations and take psychiatric medicine against her will.
On Tuesday, Judge Brenda Penny denied Spears’ request to end her father’s role in her conservatorship.
However, due to the revelations in Spears’ public testimony, private wealth management firm Bessemer Trust said in a court filing on Thursday that it requests to be removed in its role in managing her estate. Bessemer Trust was added as a co-conservator with Spears’ father last fall.
Earlier this year, Gaetz and Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) calling for a hearing on conservatorships, referencing the pop superstar’s involuntary conservatorship.
Democrats have also cited Spears’ case in demanding more accountability in the conservatorship system. On Thursday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) asked Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland to provide more data and information on the conservatorship system. Warren and Casey said that Spears’ conservatorship battle highlights “longstanding concerns from advocates who have underscored the potential for financial and civil rights abuses of individuals” under conservatorships or guardianships.