Britney Spears has launched a legal bid to remove her father from a controversial guardianship controlling her finances and replace him with an independent accountant, according to court documents filed Monday.
Mathew Rosengart, who was appointed as the pop star's attorney this month, had pledged to move swiftly to remove Jamie Spears after the singer delivered two emotional testimonies to a Los Angeles court labeling the conservatorship as "cruelty."
"If the court doesn't see this as abuse... I don't know what is," said Spears, 39, telling the court via telephone earlier this month that she wanted her father removed and to "press charges" against him.
The Los Angeles Superior Court website on Monday listed a new petition to "Appoint Conservator of Estate (Successor)", and California-based accountant Jason Rubin is listed as "Nominee."
Rosengart argued in the petition that as a recent judge's ruling found "Ms. Spears has sufficient capacity to choose her own legal counsel, she likewise has sufficient capacity to make this nomination," The New York Times reported.
At a brief hearing later Monday, Judge Brenda Penny said she will rule in late September on the bid to remove Jamie Spears from control of an estate estimated to be worth $60 million.
Jamie Spears' removal has been a longstanding demand of devoted global fans campaigning under the #FreeBritney slogan.
Spears was placed under a unique legal guardianship largely governed by her father after she suffered a highly public 2007 breakdown.
But the "Toxic" singer has become increasingly vocal and public in opposing the conservatorship since emotional court testimonies and social media posts in which she slammed the system as "cruelty" and accused her father and others of profiting from the system.
Spears alleged in court that she had been prevented from having a contraceptive IUD removed, despite wanting more children, and forcefully put on medication that made her feel "drunk."
She recently wrote on Instagram that she was "not gonna be performing on any stages anytime soon with my dad handling what I wear, say, do, or think."
Following a July 14 hearing, Rosengart told AFP his team would be "filing a petition as soon as possible to move Mr Spears," while also calling on the singer's father to step down voluntarily.
But Jamie Spears' lawyer told the court he would not be standing down, and disputed Britney Spears' account of the conservatorship.
A previous petition to remove Jamie Spears from his role last year was rejected by the judge.
A court hearing has been set for September 29.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced Monday it would require more than 100,000 health care personnel to get Covid-19 vaccines, signaling a change in the Biden administration's attitude to mandates as the Delta variant fueled a new nationwide wave.
The move came as part of a broader shift as California and New York City said official workers would need to get vaccinated or take weekly tests, with California extending the requirement to private-sector health jobs.
"Whenever a Veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from Covid-19," said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.
"With this mandate, we can once again make — and keep — that fundamental promise."
The VA is the first federal agency to impose a mandate, a step President Joe Biden's administration had been reluctant to take until now.
The statement added that four unvaccinated VA employees had died in recent weeks.
Personnel such as physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses and others now have eight weeks to be fully vaccinated.
Earlier this month, VA officials said more than 70 percent of the agency's 300,000 employees were fully vaccinated. The new order applies to 115,000 people, according to the Military Times.
California's order will apply to almost 240,000 state workers and hundreds of thousands more private-sector health workers, with full compliance required by August 21, according to a news release by Governor Gavin Newsom's office.
New York's order will go into effect from September 13 and apply to more than 300,000 city personnel, including police, fire fighters and teachers, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
San Franciso Mayor London Breed meanwhile said anyone hired by the city or county would need a vaccine before they can begin their job, extending the scope of a mandate on existing city workers announced last week.
- Delta surge -
The United States is in the midst of a surge driven by Delta, the most contagious variant identified to date, which now accounts for more than 89 percent of US cases, according to estimates.
Some 52,000 people are being infected everyday, according to the Covid Act Now tracker, though with 80 percent of seniors fully vaccinated, hospitalizations and deaths are not at the level of previous waves.
Hotspots include the states of Arkansas, Florida -- which accounts for almost a quarter of all new cases -- Louisiana and Missouri.
They have all lagged behind the national vaccination rate, but White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters last week that these states were recently registering higher immunization rates in light of the summer surge.
Just over 49 percent of the total US population has been fully vaccinated, well below the 85 to 90 percent experts now estimate is required for population immunity.
"We're at about 67% (with prior infections counted) So we need a lot more vaccinations," tweeted Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health on Sunday.
Controversy is meanwhile building over mandates.
On Monday, 57 medical groups representing millions of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health workers called for mandatory vaccinations for all health staff.
A recent WebMD report of 2,500 hospitals showed that about one in four health care workers have not been vaccinated, primarily nursing aides, emergency medical technicians, and nurses.
While Democratic-led jurisdictions are passing vaccine requirements, several Republican-led states have instead passed laws banning such measures, particularly in schools.
There are signs however that Republican lawmakers and officials are joining the chorus of support for vaccinations.
"These vaccines are saving lives," Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a news conference last week.
On Thursday number two House Republican Steve Scalise joined the chamber's GOP Doctors Caucus, a group of 18 lawmakers who are licensed medical experts, to tell Americans to "get the vaccine."
Beginning at 9:30 AM (ET) the House select committee on the Jan 6th Capitol insurrection will open its first hearing, with the first day featuring testimony from Capitol police who defended the lawmakers that day.
The testimony will follow opening statements from both the senior Democrat on the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).
According to CBS: "The committee has called four officers to testify Tuesday, all of whom have been vocal about the violence they experienced. The committee said they would deliver testimony in their personal capacities, not representing their departments."
You can watch below:
Watch Live: House select committee on U.S. Capitol riot holds first hearing youtu.be
Live: Jan. 6 Select Committee Holds First House Hearing On Capitol Riot | NBC News youtu.be
Six months after a mob of Donald Trump's supporters stormed the seat of American democracy in the worst attack on the legislature since the War of 1812, the American public will learn of the challenges faced by law enforcement in the debut hearing before a select committee that has become a political flashpoint.
"Nothing will be off-limits. We will do what is necessary to understand what happened, why, and how," the panel's Democratic chairman, Bennie Thompson, wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.
"The committee will provide the definitive accounting of one of the darkest days in our history."
Lawmakers will receive first-hand accounts from police attacked by rioters who fought their way into the building, hunted for the likes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and sought to block certification of Joe Biden's November presidential election victory.
Trump on Monday dismissed the probe as "a fake and highly partisan" and attempted to blame Pelosi for allegedly failing to protect the Capitol from his supporters.
Four police officers will testify at the 9:30 am (1330 GMT) hearing, including Washington officer Michael Fanone, who was stun-gunned and beaten by rioters.
Fanone, who suffered a heart attack during the mayhem, has told US media that the clashes amounted to "the most brutal, savage hand-to-hand combat" of his life.
Also testifying is US Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who has spoken of racial epithets hurled at him and other police by rioters, many of whom were associated with ultra-nationalist and white supremacist groups.
Five people died during or shortly after the insurrection, while dozens of police were injured.
House Republican leadership has essentially boycotted the select committee, pulling its five appointments last week after Pelosi took unprecedented action by rejecting two of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's picks.
Instead of leaving the panel with just Democrats, Pelosi unilaterally named two Republicans: Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.
Both are forceful Trump critics who voted for his impeachment in January, and both have drawn GOP censure for refusing to back Trump's baseless claims that the election was stolen.
Pelosi and others had wanted a bipartisan, independent 9/11 commission-style panel to investigate the riot and its origins. Even McCarthy in January voiced support.
But with anxiety growing among Republicans concerned that a January 6 probe could prove politically damaging for their party ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, the party began coalescing against a deep dive.
Senate Republicans in May blocked the commission, arguing that multiple investigations have already reached conclusions about the riot and hundreds of arrests have yielded considerable data about what happened.
The party has sought to destroy the credibility of Pelosi's subsequent committee, with McCarthy accusing her of "playing politics" as partisan tensions soar.
"Never in the history of America has a speaker picked the other side, so they are predetermining what comes out" from the probe, McCarthy told reporters Monday.
He also derided conservatives Cheney and Kinzinger as "Pelosi Republicans," a slight they dismissed as "childish."
The speaker insists the committee will forge ahead -- with or without more Republican engagement.
"We have to, again, ignore the antics of those who do not want to find the truth," she told ABC Sunday.
Democrats like committee member Adam Schiff said they are eager to learn about the actions of Trump and some Republican lawmakers before and during the riot.
Schiff said he expects the panel to use subpoena power to compel appearances of witnesses reluctant to testify.
"It's all the more important now that people are trying to whitewash history," Schiff told CNN.
Biden meanwhile is backing Pelosi's strategy, "which is to get to the bottom of what happened and prevent it from happening in the future," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
(with additional reporting from AFP)
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