Angelina Jolie’s divorce from her fellow Hollywood star Brad Pitt appears to have just gone off the rails as she is asking for the removal of the private judge who was assigned to the case.
Fox News reported that Jolie is calling for the judge to be disqualified over his failure to fully disclose his business relationship with Pitt’s attorneys. Jolie argued in a filing submitted to the Los Angeles Superior Court that Judge John W. Ouderkirk should be removed from the case for being too late and not forthcoming enough about other cases he was hired for that involved Pitt’s attorney, Anne C. Kiley.
The filing alleged that during the divorce proceedings, which have been ongoing since 2016, Oudenkirk “failed to disclose the cases that demonstrated the current, ongoing, repeat-customer relationship between the judge and Respondent’s counsel.”
It goes on to say that Pitt’s attorney “actively advocated for Judge Ouderkirk’s financial interests in moving — over the opposing party’s opposition — to have his appointment (and his ability to continue to receive fees) extended in a high profile case.”
Like many celebrity couples, Jolie and Pitt decided to pay a private judge to preside over their case in order to keep many of its filings as well as the personal and financial details out of the public eye. However, some legal moves must be made within standard court procedure, making them public.
Jolie said in her filing that “it doesn’t matter if Judge Ouderkirk is actually biased. Under California law disqualification is required so long as a person aware of the facts ‘might reasonably entertain a doubt’ about Judge Ouderkirk’s ability to remain impartial.”
Though Jolie’s legal team tried to get Ouderkirk to disqualify himself in private proceedings, Pitt’s team has insisted that he stay on.
“As is set forth in the filing, all my client is asking for is a fair trial based on facts, with no special favors extended to either side,” Jolie’s attorney Samantha Bley DeJean told reporters. “The only way litigants can trust the process is for everyone involved to ensure that there is transparency and impartiality.”
Jolie and Pitt have six children together: Maddox, 19, Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 14, Knox, 12, and Vivienne, 12. Much of the issues in their divorce proceedings seem to involve custody of the children, with Jolie filing papers in 2018 claiming that Pitt wasn’t paying sufficient child support. Pitt’s lawyers immediately denied these claims, claiming that the filing was an attempt to manipulate media coverage of the split.
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