Jamie Spears's half-sister calls him "barbaric" over his treatment of the pop star.
Britney Spears's aunt, Leigh Ann Spears Wrather, appeared on Friday's Good Morning Britain and spoke out against her sibling, who was ousted amid allegations of conservatorship abuse. Wrather hopes he's "held accountable" for wrongdoing.
"He's barbaric," said Wrather, whose relationship status with both Jamie and Britney is unclear. "I mean, who gets to do that to someone? She was just manipulated and used. And he wants to say he protected her? No, he caged her."
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Wrather said Jamie "swooped in at the perfect moment, when [Britney] was at her most vulnerable, to take control," when the controversial conservatorship was first put in place in 2008. “I don’t think he was the hero. I think that he manipulated the situation and that he has benefitted from the situation for over a decade."
She added, "I don’t know if he could be prosecuted for anything, but he needs to be held accountable," which is something Britney's new conservatorship attorney, Mathew Rosengart, has vowed to do.
Wrather added that she's not sure "what anyone could have done" to prevent the alleged conservatorship abuse from happening. "I know this — if [Britney's mother and Jamie's ex-wife] Lynne could have done anything, she would have.” (Lynne, who has no official role in the conservatorship, called for Jamie's removal, but not until this past year.)
Jamie's attorney Vivian L. Thoreen tells Yahoo Entertainment, “Since her public breakdown, Jamie has devoted his life to helping Britney meet her goals of regaining custody of her children, rehabilitating her career and being in a position to live the life she wants to live. Upside down in her home mortgage and facing multiple lawsuits in 2008, Jamie worked tirelessly to protect Britney from further exploitation, resolve millions of dollars in lawsuits that were pending against her and help rebuild her finances so she and her sons are once again financially sound. Jamie loves Britney unwaveringly and wants only the best for her. He will never stop loving or supporting his daughter."
The statement continues, "Jamie does not answer to the court of public opinion; he answers to a court of law, the probate court. All of his actions were well within the parameters of the authority conferred upon him by the court. His actions were done with the knowledge and consent of Britney, her court-appointed attorney, and/or the court. Jamie’s record as conservator — and the court’s approval of his actions — speak for themselves.”
Wrather previously told the New York Post that she left home at age 16 after being sexually abused by their father, June Austin, from the age of 11. The Spears patriarch, who had 10 children with three women, died earlier this year.
Britney's conservatorship, which spawned the fan-driven #FreeBritney movement, blew up in June when the singer broke her silence to allege conservatorship abuse against her father. She claimed she was forced to work, take medicine and be treated in a mental health treatment facility all against her will. All the while, her father — who acted as conservator of her estate — and many others involved profited handsomely.
"I want to sue my family, to be totally honest with you," Britney said in court in June.
The next month, she was able to hire her own attorney for the first time since she was placed in the conservatorship. Rosengart, a former prosecutor, was able to suspend Jamie last month. Rosengart said he's working to end the conservatorship completely by the end of fall.
Rosengart also vowed legal action against Jamie and anyone who abused the conservatorship, for financial gain or otherwise. In September, new allegations surfaced that Jamie hired a security team that secretly recorded Britney's private conversations, in her home and on her phone.
Britney has used social media to shade most of her family in recent weeks. It's unclear which, if any, of her family members — also including siblings Bryan and Jamie Lynn — she speaks to. She has been estranged from Jamie for well over a year.
The pop singer became engaged to longtime boyfriend Sam Asghari in August and the two are planning their wedding.