Angelina Jolie’s lawyer: Brad Pitt’s team is attempting to ‘obstruct or influence’ the judge

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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 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.”

[From People]

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.

Actor Brad Pitt arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere Of 20th Century Fox's 'Ad Astra' held at ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood Cinerama Dome on August 18, 2019 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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58 Responses to “Angelina Jolie’s lawyer: Brad Pitt’s team is attempting to ‘obstruct or influence’ the judge”

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  1. Amy says:

    At this point, is it possible she’s trying to string it out until more of the kids are legal adults and will be able to choose for themselves?

    To clarify I am team Jolie, and it sounds like Brad’s lawyers were definitely dealing double and getting favouritism from the judge. But 4 years later this is just getting ridiculous, why can’t it just be over?

    • Hmm says:

      Could it be he wants the corrupt judge because he doesn’t want to pay for his kids way of life anymore? Especially when said kids can’t stand him and refuse to visit him lol

    • SaraR. says:

      Because it took time for Brad to get through therapy (personal and family), for kids to get through therapy (it looks like its ongoing thing) that’s why they had temporary custody agreements that got adjusted as they progressed, to lead to a permanent one. This is not talked in public about, that’s why Angelina said in that interview two months ago that because of her silence, some have taken advantage. Brad’s team is pushing that narative that it’s just a divorce that is taking a long time, but there is a reason for that.

    • ad says:

      There are many reasons we don’t know why it’s taking so long to sort custody. It is not a straight forward custody battle, + they have to consider the children’s feelings too. It seems a very complicated one!

  2. Jellybean says:

    I don’t trust anything that gets into the press, even if it is via a court filing. Until it goes to court and a judgement is made, I consider it all to be BS.

  3. BearcatLawyer says:

    Not a California lawyer, but in general even when seeking to have a judge recused (removed) from a case, both sides get to have their say. So it is misleading to suggest that Brad’s team should not/is not allowed to respond to Angelina’s motion.

    Unfortunately these kinds of incestuous relationships happen all the time in family law. There just are not that many qualified people to deal with high-profile, high-dollar divorces. It strikes me as highly unlikely that Judge Ouderkirk NEVER updated Angelina’s team that he had taken on additional cases involving Brad’s attorneys. He is not a newbie, and I doubt he would risk his reputation over something like this.

    It also strikes me as disingenuous to suggest that taking these additional matters automatically makes him biased towards Brad. Keep in mind – the lawyers are not paying Judge Ouderkirk directly; their clients are. Obviously lawyers will suggest and tend to use the same private judges over and over again if they can obtain good results for their clients, but Angelina IS PAYING HIM TOO and she is just as famous and generally more respected than Brad in Hollywood and in the wider world. Thus, Judge Ouderkirk is just as incentivized to be fair to her and her attorneys in the hopes of getting more business in the future.

    • Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

      But DeJean either through a source or in the filing gave an example of the Modern Family creator’s divorce that lasted even longer than the Jolie-Pitt’s. And DeJean has shown evidence of an ongoing financial relationship between Pitt’s team and Judge O. So if he’s getting additional money from Pitt’s attorney’s and has an established pattern of engaging in drawn-out divorces meant to bankrupt the opposing side, he’s not equally incentivized to help Jolie. The wealthy get and protect their wealth through theft and grift. And louder for the back: The wealthy get and protect their wealth through theft and grift!

      I think it’s naive to believe that a judge wouldn’t risk his reputation. Judges all across the country make terrible judgements that not only harm people’s lives but taint their reputation. Look at the Michigan judge who sent a 15 year old to prison for not doing her homework and kept her there saying it was working for her. Only through public outrage was the child reunited with her mother—and by another judge.

    • sa says:

      @BearcatLawyer, I completely agree – especially that of course Brad gets to respond to Angelina’s motion.

      • Hmm says:

        He responded in the court of public opinion. Which is weird because he won that ages ago.

        Apparently the judge has to decide today- So we shall see how it goes. I hope Angelina’s kids get a FAIR deal and things can be wrapped up quickly without anymore extensions.

    • Observer says:

      It’s a move that feels like she and her attorney are grasping at straws. There was also a very aggressive PR messaging to make it seem the judge & Brad’s lawyers are corrupt or cheating. So I definitely agree Brad’s team are well within their right to respond.

      • Michelle says:

        What’s agressive is Pitt’s fixer attacking Angelina every chance they get through media outlets. If Pitt wanted to respond why is it still not filed in court? instead it was given to his favourite tabloids (page six, dailymail) to attack jolie just like he’s done non stop since the split.

    • Shim says:

      Kids for Cash Scandal, I’m sure plenty of people said exactly the same thing about those judges.

  4. Darla says:

    I have no idea who to believe. Who knows. I don’t put anything past any man, especially one who has been catered to for as long as Pitt, but who really knows. I doubt we’ll ever know the truth.

  5. anniefannie says:

    I know this won’t be a popular opinion but I do think this one is a Hail Mary from Jolie’s team. I worked as a legal assistant and there’s a very small pool of judges in various types of law,
    family law being being the most in demand. It’s assumed that attorneys could have numerous ongoing cases in front of a judge and failure to disclose a new case (oversite or onerous ) shouldn’t ultimately effect the judges ruling.
    Does anyone truly think her team would have filed if they thought she was going to get a favorable ruling?
    Additionally, they’re risking losing the ruling, and alienating the judge this seems desperate

    • IDidn'tDoIt says:

      I agree

    • Sierra says:

      I can’t believe you are excusing the judge for not being honest. Angelina’s attorney clearly points out that they didn’t disclose anything from last year or this year. Especially since the judge hd an increase dealings with Brad’s lawyer this year specifically.

      Even the judge admitted he was wrong not to fully disclose. Brad is the one who has “bribed” a judge and already expected the outcome to suit him. He got away with 3 extensions and not submitting his financials for months almost a year.

      • anniefannie says:

        There’s a lot of leaps here, failure to disclose isn’t necessarily lying and because the judge acknowledged it doesn’t mean it was intentional. Additionally, having a number of other cases in front of a private judge isn’t bribery. Having multiple cases in front of a judge is VERY common. IMHO This is them using a technicality to get a judge tossed because they anticipate a ruling they don’t like.

      • Sierra says:

        You are grasping straws to defend the judge here. One dealing can be intentional but not several as mentioned here. A judge should and would know how important it is to be transparent.

        If you don’t see the wrongdoings here then that shows how much people casually accept corruption.

    • Hmm says:

      What do you think she’s going to lose? It ain’t her teenaged kids. LoL

      My guess is he doesn’t want to pay back child support or spousal support that Bley wants. It’s b.s. And low but we’ve seen how he treats the hurricane Nola victims, French lighting designers, construction worker and other people he sees as below him unless they can be of some use. I guess he sees his kids as useless now that they won’t do paparazzi strolls with him. He can no longer take credit for any of Angelina humanitarian work or child raising either.

      I guess he wins whatever he didn’t hand over to his lawyers and the judge
      No wonder he’s trying to sign up to action movies now at his old age, lol

    • Truth hurts says:

      I disagree. What is he gonna win. The only two children that can be added to this custody are the twins. Everyone else is old enough to decide. I think the main thing she wanted to point out was the crooked lawyer who have done nothing but slander and name call her since 2016! Plus the judge was meeting with his lawyers secretly and getting extra monies from Pitt so she does have a point. I
      Mean we can all be biased but a lot of the info isn’t being front and center. You have to read the whole petition.
      @bearcatlawyer why is he so sure he is gonna win? 2. They have been asking for this a while this just didn’t begin!
      Remember why her first lawyer got canned? Spiegel leaked sealed documents! Iaight
      It’s unfortunate that every response he gives about Angelina he accuses her of stalling when they are the ones asking for extensions for years. Pus always attacks her saying she does it to sway the public! Really!

      • Hmm says:

        It’s hilarious. His team leaked this (3rd or 4th smear campaign against her) b.s to all the tabs but she’s doing something for the public. Lmaooooo

    • lucy2 says:

      I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that with it being a private judge situation, with the judge being paid (well) by the parties, it should have been disclosed to either side, if he was hired by one of them again while this was still going on. It shouldn’t influence him, but I guess it could.

  6. crogirl says:

    Just the tone of his response tells you everything you need to know about Brad and his legal team. Bunch of misogynistic bullies.

  7. Sierra says:

    Well an investigate journalist on twitter praised Angelina’s lawyer for standing up to the judge corruption in LA.

    Laura Wasser always wanted to play in the boy‘s and never took her client’s interest to heart.

    Samantha thankfully seems to do that and hopefully this corruption fully comes out. Brad’s team is panicking because they are losing here and did something illegal.

  8. Hmm says:

    I’m confused as to why they insist it’s custody stuff? Custody for big ole kids that can make up their minds? Angelina lives 5-10 minutes from him but they don’t go see him?

    That’s sounds like a deadbeat daddy issue. It’s disgusting to me that she has to be dragged through the mud when she’s seemingly done everything to help him reconnect with those kids. She could’ve moved miles away. Apparently she allowed his family to visit HER HOME after he savagely attacked her in the media AGAIN. HOW MANY TIMES IS THAT NOW?

    I think it’s a money issue but is team won’t acknowledge that and keeps using 2 pre teen and teenaged kids as a distraction. Again these are not little kids they are fighting over. Other than the 12 year olds the rest are 14 and older and in California that’s old enough to decide where ya want to be. So he’s full of shhhh….

    • Observer says:

      The legal filings in this case state that it is custody that is to be settled.

      • Gunnar says:

        The legal filings in this case also show that there has already been a judgement on child custody and visitation, so why is the matter still unsettled? There must still be a very serious problem between Pitt and his kids.

      • Observer says:

        Well two years ago Brad’s team very publicly leaked that he had been on the receiving end of what one would call attempts at parental alienation. So if that was in fact true, I agree, there was/is indeed a very serious problem between Pitt and his children that has resulted in a protracted reunification and custody settlement.

        Either way per the recent filings is appears they are very close to a final decision regarding custody. Brad and his team are within their rights to suggest that Jolie asking for a change in judge at this very moment is trying to delay this final decision.

      • Gunnar says:

        That leak doesn’t even slightly prove parental alienation and even if it were the case proceedings would not be this protracted, as there are ways to deal with such interference. It’s taking a very long time, so indeed, there are issues between Pitt and his kids but issues that are his to resolve.

        “It appears”, no according to Pitt’s team they are allegedly nearing a conclusion (isn’t it close to the usual time he files an extension?), which they would say, if only to then be able to claim that Jolie is trying to “delay” a final ruling in a case going on four years. As stated above, you could also suggest that the delay is for reasons related to Pitt.

  9. Maggie says:

    No one knows except the parties but as a lawyer from the outside, this seems like a desperate move by Jolie. She wanted a private judge, they’re years in, judges have ethical duties to disclose conflicts, I find it just had to imagine that a judge at this level would violate ethical duties and oh goodness she’s just finding out. I mean it’s possible, but it’s far more likely she just doesn’t like what he is ruling. I find this sort of procedural maneuvering to be the height of hypocrisy. You didn’t have to hire a private judge but you did. This is the risk. Live with it.

    • Michelle says:

      The judge admitted he didn’t disclose the information. Jolie’s only just finding out because it was hidden from her. Everybody is missing what’s really at stake here… the kids safety!!! Jolie is trying to make sure she’s protecting her kids & keeping them safe. It’s not about winning & losing.

  10. Mireille says:

    YES, the judge presided over Angie’s wedding (which has absolutely NOTHING to do with the divorce proceedings). YES, Angie is also paying the judge. BUT she’s paying him to be IMPARTIAL in these proceedings. And all was going well until recent discoveries forced Bley’s hand … and the filing.

    Why is it that benefit of the doubt is given to the judge and Brad’s team BUT NOT Angie? Don’t you think Angie also wants this done and over with? If the judge is the sort to not risk his reputation, why would we think Samantha Bley DeJean would risk HERS and possibly lose if she didn’t feel that this was necessary to file? And the filing speaks for itself.

    How many times have Brad been given a hard pass during the divorce proceedings when he filed multiple extensions and delayed releasing his financials? If Angie’s team feel that there is something more than off about how the judge is arbitrating this case, then they have a right to file.

    What does Angie have to lose? She’s not going to lose the kids. If they split 50/50 custody, wasn’t that her intention all along? She’s never faltered in doing what’s best for the kids — and that means including re-establishing a relationship with their father. This woman is neither uncaring or stupid — she would not hurt her kids. She moved into a house close to Pitt so he can access to their kids. What’s his excuse?

    It’s telling to me that AFTER this filing was made, so many PR bombs have been launched against her:

    1) Angie’s losing the case and she’s pissed that’s why the hail mary move

    2) Pitts family have not seen the kids in 4 years … never mind that “William has over the past few decades developed a housing estate in his neighbourhood and named the streets after his grandchildren – with the exception of Brad and Angelina’s” because that shows how much they miss the kids … but oh yeah, ANGIE’S FAULT.

    3. More smear tactics to come…

    P.S. As for a judge not wanting to sully his reputation, I can give an example of at least one here on Long Island that was involved in custody case where she blatantly ignored evidence of child abuse and custody was awarded to the father. She had shown prejudice against the immigrant mother and favoritism towards the NYPD father. That child — in the custody of his father — is now dead. And that judge… outside of the protests to have her removed from the bench and having NOW recused herself from further custody proceedings…still has her job.

    If Angie can be considered NOT infallible, the same can be said with Pitt, his team, judges, and lawyers. Angie’s team filed a legal motion and the judge needs to respond. Period. From there, let’s see where that takes them. The Levitan case has proven interesting.

    • Sierra says:

      Well said 👏

      Brad supporters and the sexist media will always excuse Brad even if he committed murder.

      Brad is using Trump’s playbook here and I hope he gets fully exposed. I am so sick and tired of white men getting away with everything.

    • Truth hurts says:

      Post of the day!

    • TheOtherSam says:

      @Mireille not much to add to your post re legal maneuverings, you make good pts – but rumor #2 re the kids not seeing the elder Pitts or the broader family is pretty much disproven. Pitt’s nieces posted clear-as-day photos on their Igs over the weekend, of them partying in Angie’s backyard at the DeMille, holding up huge plates of bbq (delicious looking veggie bbq, but nonetheless).

      Was surprised as anyone to see these, but it makes perfect sense they travelled back to LA and to Angelina’s with most of the kids, after being with them at Brad’s beach house for his mom’s bday bash last week, where the whole Pitt family gathered.

      They looked extremely comfortable – there’s no way they’d be that relaxed if that was the 1st time they’d seen their cousins in 4 yrs, and posting so casually from their ex-Aunt’s backyard, during an ongoing court/custody fight no less.

  11. Truth hurts says:

    Look at some of the lawyers coming in speaking about lawyers and judges not being money hungry. You see what You want to see. If there is a new judge she risks more . Again I think it was to expose his counsel for wrong doing. Her old counsel Wasser could
    Have known and not told her which was a probability. Either way there is more that’s not being shared. What could she expect to gain by requesting a new lawyer. It’s not gonna take two years to review this case. She knows the judge, so what! He isn’t corrupt because he has other cases with the lawyers? Or meeting privately alone and taking extra monies? Um okay

    • Gunnar says:

      Have to say, It is amusing reading all the lawyers seemingly downplaying or skirting around the importance of impartiality.

      • ad says:

        They don’t want their bad practices out in the open. Attorneys exchange deals with each other charging clients enormous fees to be divided between them!

      • WTF says:

        @ad, as a lawyer, I am slightly offended. The truth is your divorce lawyer doesn’t hate your spouse. No matter what shady shit he/she did. As general rule, we just aren’t emotionally invested like that. Our goal is to get the outcome that you want, with the most possible billable hours. I tend to think this is legal strategy on Jolie’s team’s part, but I could be wrong. You don’t have a judge removed just because they didn’t disclose. You only have them removed if they didn’t disclose AND you think they are going to rule against you. The deciding factor is, does it help me win in the end. Also, lawyers at this level make the same amount of money whether you win or not. You pay for their time, and their prestige etc. And not only is it unethical for lawyers to share fees, it doesn’t make any sense. Why would I agree to share a fee with an attorney on the other side?

        OAN, I’ve always heard people on this site say that they are arguing about money. But aren’t they equally yoked when it comes to money? For all this headache, if it were really just about money wouldn’t Jolie have just walked away? She doesn’t even seem to live a lavish life. Just seems to me there must be something else, like something about the kids.

      • Observer says:

        @WTF Pitt’s own lawyer says custody is the remaining issue to be settled.

      • Linen says:

        “But aren’t they equally yoked when it comes to money?”

        Pitt is much richer than she is. Plan B is a big success. I think she donated 1/3 of her earnings throughout the career and that’s also lead to dwindling of her fortune.

  12. PineNut says:

    I don’t think Pitt ever adopted the older kids. They were/are Angie’s kids.

    • Linen says:

      He did adopt all the non-bio kids. He’s their legal parent as much as she is. She adopted Maddox on her own when still with BB Thornton. And then Zahara and Pax by herself (though they were together by then) just to make the process easier. Pitt adopted all three later.

  13. Truth hurts says:

    @wtf sorry but there are so many crooked lawyers and judges who drain people of their money. I’m sorry if u aren’t one of them. But I have had a few come by me that were unethical and greedy.

  14. LioLione says:

    I’m totally EXHAUSTED reading about this divorce. Can’t imagine how they feel…

  15. Meg says:

    Leaving out the kids if angie could still have her kids but go back in time do you think knowing what she knows now she would’ve walked away & not even been with brad at all? Because this breakup sounds like a beast

    • Truth hurts says:

      @meg I would think she would but we all look at things differently when we are in the moment. I think he swayed her via her son. He lied to both her and Aniston. He is a man and was out to get what he wanted.
      The worst part was he allowed them both to take blame for his decisions and actions. I read an article years ago stating if IBrad wasn’t this handsome man would the media spin this like a rivalry between two women? No!
      He accused Aniston of not wanting children to justify him moving in with Jolie when all he had to do was he truthful.
      He definitely has some major issues with more than drugs and alcoholism.
      To answer your question she was like a lot of women falling for the okie doke and his make privilege put a scar on her rep. They made her the evil villain who ruined his perfect marriage and that was far from the truth. I’ll add the meddling and gossip helped end their relationship too.
      Yesterday I heard a host say that this divorce is hurting the kids.
      Don’t you think that years of slandering their mom, invading their private space.

  16. Linen says:

    Gwyneth Paltrow and her conscious uncoupling is looking might attractive right now. Those two are probably just as rich or richer and boy was that a nice’n’peaceful divorce. 🙂

  17. Truth hurts says:

    To Speigels law firm. Since you leak documents to sleazy gossip bloatsnlike Page Six and the Blast.
    Why don’t you stop slandering Angelina everytime she does something you don’t like. It’s a personal vendetta against her. Your repeated statements saying she manipulated the media, deprives the kids, alienated them from their perfect dad is redundant and stupid.
    You say she tries to sway the media don’t undo that also?

    • Mina says:

      The so called lawyers are posting in a forum online “celebitchy” and are commenting on another real lawyer who is working and posting in a COURTHOUSE.
      Can you without outing yourselves tell us where you studied law and your state?
      Because you must know the Rules of Professional Conduct and the American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial Conduct
      US code :”Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
      “A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned,”

      • Truth hurts says:

        @Mina probably someone in his firm because they leak things to gossip blogs and TMZ. Or CAA interns snooping around reading what people are saying about Pitt.

  18. Mina says:

    Where is Spiegel’s complete answer? I’d like to read his arguments and his references

  19. Mina says:

    @Truth , probably his firm, a CAA intern or an obsessed Pitt fan who can’t think with objectivity.