The crazy, damaging leaks about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce stopped as soon as Angelina hired Samantha Bley Dejean in 2018. It’s no secret that Jolie’s original lawyer, Laura Wasser, was a massive part of the problem in the first years of the divorce negotiations. Since Dejean has been on the case, it’s felt like both sides have made an effort to keep their respective camps a lot quieter, although it also feels like Brad and his team are continuously running to the tabloids to make him sound like Father of the Year for spending a few hours with his kids. Anyway, we’re coming up on the four-year anniversary of Angelina filing for divorce. And it still hasn’t been finalized. What’s the hold-up? Well, it looks like one of the hold-ups was the fact that the “private judge” who has been overseeing the slow-moving divorce proceedings is in bed financially with Brad’s lawyers??
[From NBC Washington]
Angelina Jolie asked Monday that the private judge overseeing her divorce from Brad Pitt be disqualified from the case because of insufficient disclosures of his business relationships with one of Pitt’s attorneys. In a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court, Jolie argues that Judge John W. Ouderkirk should be taken off the divorce case that she filed in 2016 because he was too late and not forthcoming enough about other cases he was hired for involving Pitt attorney Anne C. Kiley. It says that during the Jolie-Pitt proceedings Ouderkirk has “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.” An email to Kiley and Pitt’s lead attorney Lance Spiegel seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Pitt and Jolie, like other high-profile couples, are paying for a private judge in their divorce case to keep many of its filings and the personal and financial details within them sealed, though some legal moves must be made within standard court procedure. Jolie’s filing emphasizes that a private judge must follow the same rules of disclosure and conflict of interest that other judges must. The filing says “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.”
Well well. The shenanigans with this divorce, my lord. The switching lawyers thing, the media games, Brad hiring all of those crisis managers and now this: Brad’s lawyers were in business with the private judge. How in the world did Judge Ouderkirk not simply recuse himself? This is so shady!
I’ve said this before, but I believe both Angelina and Brad are drawing this out for entirely different reasons. Angelina wants to slow-walk this so that the kids will have more time and space away from Brad and so they can make their own decisions about seeing him. Brad is drawing this out because of HIS financials, and the fact that he apparently doesn’t want to pay Angelina a settlement or child support.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.