I’ll preface this: I got my law degree from Dick Wolf University, and clearly I do not know the ins and outs of California family law. But I feel like Angelina Jolie’s legal argument is pretty simple: the private judge working on her divorce case has lied and misrepresented his dealings with Brad Pitt’s legal team, and Judge Ouderkirk needs to be off the case. It’s that simple. Jolie’s lawyer (Samantha DeJean) has detailed her concerns in a legal filing this week – Judge Ouderkirk has been involved in lengthy “private divorce” cases involving Brad Pitt’s lawyers for years now, and those cases constitute an ongoing business arrangement. Not only that, but Judge Ouderkirk misrepresented and lied about the business he was getting from Pitt’s lawyers. It’s cut-and-dry. The judge should have recused himself.
Team Pitt’s argument doesn’t make any sense: they claimed that Angelina just wanted the judge off the case because Pitt is winning, and he’s winning because his lawyers are in league with the judge. Team Pitt also claims that Angelina is trying to drag this out, when it’s Pitt who has slow-walked financial disclosures and repeatedly asked for extensions. Anyway, Page Six has another suspicious story from the Pitt camp:
Brad Pitt says that Angelina Jolie should have no issue with the private judge who’s presiding over their divorce battle — because he married them. The Oscar winner hit back after Jolie made a legal bid to get Judge John W. Ouderkirk removed due to his prior relationship with Pitt’s attorney, Anne C. Kiley. Jolie, 45, and Pitt, 56, hired the private judge to manage the case to keep many of its filings sealed.
However, in papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, Jolie asked for Judge Ouderkirk to be replaced, claiming that he was insufficiently forthcoming about cases he’d worked on with Kiley. But this has enraged Pitt’s legal camp, who filed their own papers Thursday, stating it is nothing but a “thinly veiled attempt by Jolie to delay the adjudication of long-pending custody issues in this case.”
The filing said the only losers are the couple’s six children, who are “the individuals hurt most by Jolie’s transparently tactical gambit,” as “they continue to be deprived over a resolution to these custody issues. Therefore Jolie’s motion should be denied.” The papers added: “Judge Ouderkirk has had a well-documented history with the parties to this proceeding their counsel, including, without limitation, being hand-selected by Jolie to preside over the couple’s nuptials in 2014 and serving as a neutral in several matters involving attorneys on both sides of this case.
“Judge Ouderkirk has also accepted additional new engagements involving opposing counsel during the pendency of this action — a fact fully disclosed to Jolie, and still she has never objected to his continued involvement in this proceeding until now. On the contrary, Jolie has stipulated three times to extend Judge Ouderkirk’s appointment.”
In harsh words for Jolie, who has been in a four-year divorce battle with Pitt, the papers said it was “an abrupt cry of judicial bias [that] reeks of bad faith and desperation.”
[From Page Six]
A friend on Twitter claimed that as of last night, Brad’s attorneys hadn’t actually filed anything, so where did this Page Six statement come from? Did Team Pitt just release their “legal filing” to Page Six and not submit it to the court? I have no idea if that’s true or whether it would show up in the court docket, but I 100% believe that this Page Six story came entirely from Brad’s team. The argument of “well the judge was fine with her when we got married” literally has nothing to do with this. It’s a moronic legal argument – “Why aren’t you okay with the judge lying to you and misrepresenting his business interests, you were fine with it six years ago before any of it happened!”
As for the larger argument… there doesn’t seem to be one? Pitt’s lawyer says that the judge did a full disclosure to Jolie’s team and clearly, Samantha DeJean says differently.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.
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