Fox News Flash top entertainment headlines for September 2
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Brad Pitt has filed a petition with the California Supreme Court, challenging a decision made in his custody battle with his ex-wife Angelina Jolie.
The actor filed a petition for review of the case on Tuesday, court records obtained by Fox News show. In the filing, Pitt’s legal team argues that the 2nd District Court of Appeal’s ruling to disqualify a private judge in the case – a previous request from Jolie’s side – “effectively upended the constitutionally authorized temporary judging system in California and generated widespread confusion, uncertainty, and instability for judges, litigants, and the California judicial system as a whole.”
In July, Judge John Ouderkirk was disqualified from the custody case, securing a win for Jolie. The decision meant the custody battle the two have been locked in over their five minor children could be starting over.
At the time, Jolie’s legal team argued that Ouderkirk did not sufficiently disclose his business relationships with Pitt’s attorneys.
“Judge Ouderkirk’s ethical breach, considered together with the information disclosed concerning his recent professional relationships with Pitt’s counsel, might cause an objective person, aware of all the facts, reasonably to entertain a doubt as to the judge’s ability to be impartial. Disqualification is required,” the court ruled.
Angelina Jolie dropped Brad Pitt’s last name.
In a statement to Fox News on Thursday, Pitt’s attorney, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., said: “We are seeking review in the California Supreme Court because the temporary judge, who had been appointed and repeatedly renewed by both sides, was improperly disqualified after providing a detailed, fact-based custodial decision, following a lengthy legal process with multiple witnesses and experts.
“The lower court’s ruling will reward parties who are losing child custody cases, and condone their gamesmanship, by allowing them to wait and see about the likely direction of the case before seeking the disqualification of the judge. Condoning the use of this type of strategic ‘lie in wait’ disqualification challenge will cause irreparable harm to both the children and families involved in this case, and other families in other cases, by unnecessarily prolonging the resolution of these disputes in an already overburdened court system. Allowing this kind of crafty litigation strategy will deprive parents of irreplaceable time with their children as judges are disqualified for minor reasons in the midst of their cases.
“The lower court’s ruling is bad for children and bad for California’s overburdened judicial system,” Boutrous Jr. of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP concluded.
Lawyers for Jolie did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment but in a statement on Wednesday, the actress’s attorney, Robert A. Olson, told Entertainment Tonight: “The Court of Appeal unanimously refused to tolerate the ethical violations of the private judge who had heard custody matters, and correctly vacated that judge’s orders.
“Mr. Pitt’s counsel’s petition to the California Supreme Court displays how they are clinging to this private judge who exhibited bias and refused statutorily required evidence. It is disturbing that in full knowledge of unethical behavior, and having previously failed to disclose their new and ongoing financial relationships with him, Mr. Pitt’s counsel would seek to reinstate the private judge.
“Ms. Jolie hopes Mr. Pitt will instead join with her in focusing on the children’s needs, voices, and healing,” the statement concluded.
Jolie, 46, and Pitt, 57, were married for two years when Jolie filed for divorce in 2016. They were declared divorced in April 2019.
The former couple share six kids: Maddox, 20, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and 13-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox. Maddox is exempt from the custody battle as he’s no longer a minor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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