Angelina Jolie’s lawyer: Brad Pitt’s team is attempting to ‘obstruct or influence’ the judge
Let’s summarize where we are with all of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s legal shenanigans. Angelina filed for divorce in 2016, immediately following the Plane Incident. All hell broke loose, and a massive fight over custody, visitation, child support and their commingled assets. Almost four years later, they have a bifurcated divorce (meaning either could legally remarry) but they have yet to complete the financial or custodial aspects of their divorce. They’ve been working through those issues with a private judge, John W. Ouderkirk, for much of the past four years. Before last week, it was believed that there was some softening between Angelina and Brad. Not so much.
So, what happened? Angelina’s lawyer Samantha DeJean filed a motion to have Judge Ouderkirk thrown off the case. DeJean detailed how the judge failed to disclose his ongoing financial arrangement with Brad’s lawyers, who were also using the Ouderkirk on other divorce cases. DeJean said – correctly – that the judge had a duty to disclose. Brad and his team have been throwing a massive tantrum about it for the past week though. Brad’s side argues that Angelina wants to change judges because Ouderkirk was about to give Pitt everything he wanted, to which one might say “yes, because clearly Ouderkirk was in league with Pitt’s attorneys.” DeJean says there was something “untoward” happening and it’s not about an attempt to delay anything. A source told Vanity Fair last week: “Angelina’s team was kept in the dark about matters that should have been disclosed. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is only to distract from behavior that violates the rules of ethics for judges.” Now People Magazine has entered the chat:
In his own filing in response to Jolie’s claims, Pitt accused her of trying to stall the case ahead of a child custody trial set for October. Calling Jolie’s filing a “Hail Mary,” Pitt argued in court documents that while Ouderkirk had “accepted additional new engagements involving opposing counsel” the matter had been “fully disclosed to Jolie” and that she “has never objected to [Ouderkirk’s] continued involvement in this proceeding until now.”
Pitt pointed out Ouderkirk had also disclosed prior work with his and Jolie’s respective lawyers, even referencing three times in which the actress and her legal team asked to extend Ouderkirk’s appointment to their case.
“Unfortunately, the individuals hurt most by Jolie’s transparently tactical gambit are the parties’ own children, who continue to be deprived of a final resolution to these custody issues,” the documents read.
After the filings, the two sides continued to clash over the dispute.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Pitt’s team has sought to intervene ahead of Judge Ouderkirk’s response. One can only conclude that this is an attempt to obstruct or influence Judge Ouderkirk’s answer. Any delay in these proceedings is due to their zealous attempt to create an unrecognized special exception for their client’s benefit,” Jolie’s lawyer Samantha Bley DeJean said in a statement to PEOPLE.
Yet a source close to Pitt tells PEOPLE, “This is the Judge who married them, someone who her team knew well and who her team actually introduced to the couple. Her lawyers have also worked with him, so the only excuse for their filing is that her team knew they were likely to lose and they needed to stall by changing the referee in the fourth quarter.”
Again, the fact that the same judge married them in 2014 has no relevance to whether he actively lied to counsel years later when he failed to disclose his ongoing financial relationship with Brad’s attorneys(and likely actively hid it). And again, Brad’s legal team didn’t have to file anything – this was DeJean’s motion and it’s up to Ouderkirk to respond. Brad’s lawyers *are* trying to obstruct and obfuscate. Brad and his team arguing that he was about to “win” and Angelina was about to “lose” underlines the point that none of these private proceedings were happening in good faith.
Photos courtesy of WENN.
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