Britney Spears' Bedroom Was Surveilled by Her Dad Jamie, Former FBI Special Agent Concludes
By Miguel A. Melendez
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Britney Spears' lawyer filed a declaration in court in which a former FBI special agent says she "corroborated" the claim that, under the direction of Jamie Spears, a security company was instructed "to place a secret recording device in Ms. Spears' bedroom."
Britney's lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, filed the legal documents this week in court, and in the documents, obtained by ET, the declaration says Sherine Ebadi, a former FBI special agent and now an associate managing director of a forensic intelligence firm at the L.A.-based Kroll Associates, concluded that an employee at Black Box Security wiretapped the singer's bedroom.
The Black Box employee, Alex Vlasov, first made the claim in TheNew York Times' documentary Controlling Britney Spears, which is a follow-up to Framing Britney Spears. Vlasov claimed he worked for the singer for nine years and that Britney's conservators bugged her phone and home in an effort to monitor and survey her usage of the device and life indoors. According to the FX and Hulu filmmakers, which aired the NYT doc, Vlasov supported his claims with alleged emails, text messages and audio recordings he had from over the course of his employment.
Ebadi -- whose firm specializes in conducting complex financial probes, forensic audits, due diligence and business intelligence services -- says she "personally debriefed and interviewed the whistleblower, Alex Vlasov, at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles" and "I corroborated the Times’s reporting on Mr. Spears’s extensive, surveillance efforts, including of Ms. Spears’s attorney-client communications and private conversations in her bedroom."
Furthermore, Ebadi claimed that "Vlasov told me that Mr. Spears was particularly interested in his daughter’s attorney-client communications and wanted regular updates from Black Box on the substance of those privileged messages."
As for how the alleged private recordings were made, Ebadi claimed in her declaration that the "Black Box employee who placed the secret device in Ms. Spears’s bedroom explained to Mr. Vlasov that he did so by duct-taping it behind furniture so it could not be seen, and that he added a separate battery pack to the recording device to permit continuous recording for a longer period of time." Ebadi also claimed that the employee and Black Box's CEO "had listened to the recordings made in Ms. Spears’s bedroom but found nothing useful.”
The former FBI special agent concluded that, based on her training, she found Vlasov "highly-credible."
At one point, according to the docs, Britney switched from a Blackberry to an iPhone in or around 2013, "causing a temporary cessation of monitoring." According to the docs, Jamie expressed great concern about not having visibility into his daughter's activity during this period.
It's Ebadi's conclusion, via her declaration, that Jamie "used his role as Conservator to enrich himself and those loyal or useful to him, often at the expense and against the best interests of his own daughter, whose assets, welfare, and best interests he was supposed to protect." Ebadi also claimed that Jamie "engaged in and directed others to engage in unconscionable violations of Ms. Spears's privacy and civil liberties, which also implicates federal or state criminal violations of the law." Ebadi cited the fact that California is a "two-party consent" state.
Ebadi declared Vlasov told her the alleged monitoring of Britney's phone didn't stop until "early 2021."
When these claims first surfaced in the documentary last September, Jamie's lawyer provided a statement to The New York Times.
"All of his actions were well within the parameters of the authority conferred upon him by the court," the statement read. "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."
Jamie's attorneys have also previously stated in legal docs that "regardless of his formal title, Mr. Spears will always be Ms. Spears' father" and that "he will always love her unconditionally, and he will always look out for her best interests." Jamie would eventually be suspended as Britney's conservator, and the conservatorship was later terminated.
Meanwhile, in a separate legal filing this week, Britney's attorney submitted a petition asking the court to deny Jamie's request that his legal fees be paid. In the documents, Britney claims Jamie was an alcoholic father who misappropriated funds from his daughter's conservatorship.
The docs allege Jamie received more than $36 million from the conservatorship to pay different lawyers' fees, including $6 million for his own purposes. Those purposes, the documents allege, include Jamie trying to recreate his career as a cook "by pitching a television show called Cookin’ Cruzin’ & Chaos with James Spears for which he diverted personnel from Britney Spears’s tour to help him and retrofitted a tour bus from which he could travel, cook, and serve food."
According to the docs, Britney is adamant that "no further 'prompt payment' is 'necessary,' much less appropriate, given Mr. Spears's misconduct and the $6 million in fees and commissions he already took from the Estate."
Britney's attorney added that "given the millions of dollars he already has obtained from his daughter's estate -- built through her extraordinary talent, hard work, and perseverance -- Mr. Spears already should have more than enough resources to pay his new lawyers."
On Wednesday, during a court hearing regarding Britney's finances, Judge Brenda Penny ruled that the 40-year-old singer should have control of the money that was kept in the conservatorship. This marked the last day for the temporary conservator of the estate, John Zabel.
Rosengart argued in court that Britney "has a right to use her monies like any adult," and that "the money is hers." Jamie's attorney, Alex Weingarten, argued that a reserve of the money belonging to the estate should be set aside for his client, should the courts rule in Jamie's favor regarding seeking financial payment for his services as the former conservator. Judge Penny disagreed, and ruled that Britney was not required to set aside money for that contingency.
Judge Penny also granted a motion sealing the details of the conservatorship transition citing privacy laws. Therefore, the contents and details of the conservatorship transition will only be seen by Britney and her attorneys.