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Utah GOP Rep. Burgess Owens joins #FreeBritney movement

Britney Spears arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” on July 22, 2019. Utah Republican Rep. Burgess Owens has joined others in Congress in a letter inviting Spears to testify about her experience under a conservatorship that has controlled her personal and professional life for more than a decade.

Britney Spears arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” on July 22, 2019. Utah Republican Rep. Burgess Owens has joined others in Congress in a letter inviting Spears to testify about her experience under a conservatorship that has controlled her personal and professional life for more than a decade. (Jordan Strauss, Associated Press)



SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Rep. Burgess Owens wants Congress to hear from Britney Spears about her conservatorship.

The freshman congressman signed onto a June 30 letter from fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, of Florida, inviting the pop star to testify in a congressional hearing.

"You have 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."

Owens said in a statement Friday that his aunt fell victim to an abusive guardianship.

"I saw firsthand how legal mechanisms like this, when abused, can leave vulnerable people feeling voiceless and violated by the system designed to protect them," he said. "If there are any steps that Congress can take, we want to try, even if that is listening and using our voices to advocate for those potentially mistreated by our country's legal system."

Spears has been under a conservatorship that has controlled her personal and professional life for more than a decade. Rumors about her discontent with the court-ordered arrangement spread for years online and trended with the #FreeBritney hashtag.

Last week, Spears told a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge in a hearing that she wants the conservatorship to end immediately.

"I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive," Spears said. "I just want my life back. It's been 13 years and it's enough."

James Spears has been the legal manager of his daughter's multimillion-dollar estate since 2008. He was also the conservator of her person until 2019, when he stepped back from that part of the legal agreement for health reasons. Jodi Montgomery, a private professional fiduciary, was made temporary conservator of Spears' person at that time.

Judge Brenda Penny denied a request to remove the singer's father, Jamie Spears, as conservator of her estate last week. Penny, however, assigned a financial institution, Bessemer Trust, as James Spears' co-conservator and appointed Montgomery as Britney Spears' conservator of the person.

Rep. Burgess Owens R-Utah, talks during an interview at
his West Jordan offices on Monday, April 12, 2021.
Rep. Burgess Owens R-Utah, talks during an interview at his West Jordan offices on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Gaetz wrote that he, Owens, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, and Rep. Andy Biggs, of Arizona, have followed Spears' conservatorship battle with "deep concern" and that they stand with the pop star.

"The federal courthouse door was closed to you and to too many Americans. Your story is so powerful, and the admiration of your achievements so great, you (and perhaps only you) can blow that door wide open, giving hope to millions. Your life, liberty, and happiness have been taken from you. Please take advantage of the empowerment that public congressional testimony can unlock," the letter states.

The letter to Spears says "you owe nothing to anyone" and concludes, "We stand with you, Britney — whatever you decide."

In March, Gaetz requested a House Judiciary Committee hearing to examine the "plight" of people unjustly trapped in conservatorships on the heels of a New York Times documentary about Spears' situation. Gaetz, Owens and Biggs are members of the committee.

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Dennis Romboy

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