Britney Spears' conservatorship is still in place — but it suddenly looks a lot different.

In a court hearing Wednesday, Jamie Spears was removed as conservator of his daughter's estate, a role he'd held since the arrangement's inception in February 2008. The development may not be the total emancipation hoped for by fans of the pop star, but it's a major step in that direction, and a longtime wish of Britney's.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny granted a petition by Britney's lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, suspending Jamie from his position as conservator. According to the New York Times, Penny said, "The current situation is not tenable." John Zabel, a California accountant, was named the temporary conservator of Britney's finances.

Britney Spears
Britney Spears
| Credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Since Rosengart's hiring in the summer, he relentlessly pursued Jamie's removal as conservator. (Britney's previous attorney, Sam Ingham, who had been appointed by the court upon the inception of the conservatorship, stepped down after Britney's bombshell testimony on June 23). Rosengart has repeatedly indicated that the removal of Jamie is a step toward ending the conservatorship entirely, to then be dissolved without Britney's father's interference.

In August, Jamie wrote in a court filing that he would be "willing to step down" from his role "when the time is right"; in a shocking twist weeks later, he filed for the conservatorship to be terminated outright. Rosengart celebrated the latter move as a "massive legal victory" for Britney, as he said in a statement provided to EW, but he added that Jamie could not "avoid accountability and justice" for his own behavior as conservator. "Our investigation into financial mismanagement and other issues will continue," he said.

That "other issues" could cover a lot of ground. Including, for instance, the appalling allegations that landed Friday with the release of Controlling Britney Spears, a follow-up to Framing Britney Spears that focuses on the operation of the conservatorship. The New York Times­-produced documentary alleges that Jamie and his team bugged Britney's bedroom and traced all her iPhone usage; on Monday, Rosengart wrote in a furious court filing that "while they are not evidence, the allegations warrant serious investigation" and called once again for Jamie's suspension.

Now, at least, Britney's father has been stripped of his power over her. There's still a big step left, but the princess of pop's true and total freedom is looking a whole lot closer.

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