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Angelina Wants Judge in Divorce Case Removed

She says he failed to disclose a business relationship with one of Brad's lawyers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 11, 2020 4:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – 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, the AP reports. 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.” 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.”

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.” 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 attorneys have sought in private proceedings to have Ouderkirk disqualify himself, but the filing says Pitt's side has insisted on keeping him. Pitt and Jolie were declared divorced in April of 2019, after their lawyers asked for a bifurcated judgment, meaning that two married people can be declared single while other issues, including finances and child custody, remain. Because most of the documents have been sealed, it is not clear what issues remain unresolved.

(Read more Angelina Jolie stories.)

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