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Lawyer compares Britney Spears' treatment to that of Soviet dissidents

Jon Eardley, who has purported to represent the pop star, says she is treated like the laborers in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's 'Gulag Archipelago.'

March 14, 2009|Harriet Ryan

In what was likely a first in the worlds of pop music and Russian literature, a lawyer appearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday compared Britney Spears to the Soviet dissidents in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's masterpiece "The Gulag Archipelago."

Whittier attorney Jon Eardley, who has said Spears hired him to win her release from a court-ordered conservatorship, wrote that there were parallels between the treatment of the 27-year-old pop singer and the forced laborers of the Nobel-winning author's book.

"It is worth noting that there has not even been a 'show trial' for Ms. Spears," he said in court papers.

Eardley first entered the conservatorship fray in February 2008, soon after Spears' father, Jamie, was given control of her personal life. Eardley told officials that Spears hired him in a call that ended abruptly when the phone was apparently grabbed from her hand.

Lawyers for Jamie Spears, as well as an attorney assigned by the court to represent his daughter's interests, all fought Eardley's involvement. A judge also rebuffed Eardley, saying the entertainer lacked the competence to hire her own lawyer.

In January, a court granted a temporary restraining order barring Eardley from filing papers on Spears' behalf. It also barred him from purporting to represent her. Eardley later filed an appeal of the conservatorship and the restraining order, which resulted in a hearing Friday afternoon before Commissioner Reva Goetz.

Goetz said it was "shocking" that Eardley would ask for a new lawyer to represent Spears, particularly in light of her "remarkable" improvement over the last year. Before the conservatorship, Spears was twice hospitalized for psychological problems.

The singer's court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, said Spears "expressly repudiated Mr. Eardley's involvement" and wanted to remain under the conservatorship.

Outside court, Eardley said he didn't want anything to do with the case and was focused on preserving all possible legal avenues to have the restraining order against him dismissed.

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harriet.ryan@latimes.com

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