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#FreeBritney: Lawmakers request House Judiciary hearing on conservatorship, Britney Spears

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On Monday, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) requesting that the committee hold a hearing on court-ordered conservatorships, specifically mentioning the ongoing controversy surrounding pop star Britney Spears’s father holding conservatorship over her.

In the letter, GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio), explaining the Spears situation, stated their concerns regarding “constitutional freedoms” in the case.

“The ACLU is concerned that individuals are being ‘stripped of virtually all of their civil rights through guardianships and conservatorships’ and has called for the exploration of reforms to ensure that unnecessary conservatorships can be terminated so these individuals may ‘direct their own lives,'” the letter began. “The most striking example is perhaps the case of multi-platinum performing artist Britney Spears.”

“Since 2008, Ms. Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship,” the letter added. “The facts and circumstances giving rise to this arrangement remain in dispute but involve questionable motives and legal tactics by her father and now-conservator, Jamie Spears.”

“In court appearances in August and November of 2020, Ms. Spears’ attorney represented to the court that that Ms. Spears ‘strongly opposed’ having her father as a conservator, that she was afraid of her father, and that she would not again perform publicly so long as this arrangement persisted,” the letter continued. “Despite these pleas, Mr. Spears remains a conservator of her estate. Despite Mr. Spears’s claiming to want nothing more than to see Ms. Spears ‘not need a conservatorship,’ his attorney admitted in a recent documentary, ‘Of the cases I’ve been involved in, I have not seen a conservatee who has successfully terminated a conservatorship.'”

“Given the constitutional freedoms at stake and opaqueness of these arrangements,” the letter concluded, “it is incumbent upon our Committee to convene a hearing to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships.”

Over the past couple of years, many fans of the world-famous pop star have been speculating that Spears was essentially being held captive by her father and that she needed to be rescued, with many of her fans calling for her emancipation have been using #FreeBritney hashtag.

However, the #FreeBritney movement picked up a ton of momentum last month, when The New York Times released a documentary on Netflix titled “The Framing of Britney Spears”, which the letter to Nadler referenced, that chronicled Spears’s successes and struggles and set the internet aflame.

The documentary prompted celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler to call for Spears’s emancipation. Justin Timberlake, Spears’s former boyfriend, also put out an apology for allowing the media to engage in misogyny against her after their tumultuous breakup two decades ago.

Subsequently on February 11, one week after the documentary’s release, the Los Angeles Superior Court placed the financial company Bessemer Trust in an equal partnership with Spears’s father, as the pop star had requested.

For a more detailed explanation and breakdown of the #FreeBritney situation, read Vox’s explainer piece here.

Gaetz retweeted the letter Tuesday afternoon, saying, “Congress can #FreeBritney and @RepJerryNadler has the power to convene a needed hearing on conservatorship due process.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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DOJ charges eleven pro-life protesters ‘aided and abetted by one another’

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Eleven pro-life protesters were charged with violating federal law by the Department of Justice Wednesday for blocking abortion clinics. The individuals, “aided and abetted by one another, used force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate, and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services” said the DOJ.

According to a summary of the indictment, seven of the demonstrators were charged with conspiracy against rights secured by the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which prohibits obstructing the entrance to an abortion facility. The remaining four were charged with violating the legislation.

Pro-life activist AJ Hurley told Live Action News  the FBI raided the home of Chester Gallagher, the organizer of the protest and one of the accused conspirators, on Tuesday with guns drawn. He said Gallagher’s neighbors told him Gallagher was out of state when the FBI showed up and entered his home.

National Review reports that Hurley also told Live Action News that the FBI reportedly recently called a few of the charged individuals to tell them they had arrest warrants and that they must turn themselves in. If convicted, those charged with conspiracy could face up to eleven years in prison and fines up to $250,000, the DOJ confirmed.

National Review writes:

Gallagher allegedly advertised a series of pro-life events on social media for March 2021 in the Nashville area. The indictment claims he and other coordinators recruited participants to travel to the city and erect a blockade, which Gallagher allegedly called a “rescue,” at Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mount Juliet, Tenn., to prevent pregnant women from pursuing abortions.

A livestream of the stand-in shows activists chanting and singing prayer up the stairs to and along the hallway outside the abortion clinic, located in an office complex. Police officers eventually appeared in the video urging them to take their protest outside to the sidewalk.

“This is not allowed guys. Asking you to leave the property or I will call the police,” a security guard can be heard saying. The indictment alleges that the group prevented a patient and an employee from entering the facility. After they refused to leave the premises, the activists were reportedly escorted away to jail by police on misdemeanor trespassing charges. One pro-life activist wroteon March 6, 2021, on Facebook the claim that one “rescuer” was held on $1,000 bail, six, including Gallagher, on $1,500 bail, and two on $2,500 bail.

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