Angelina Jolie asked for judge's removal from divorce case
Angelina Jolie asked for the removal of the private judge in her and Brad Pitt's divorce case because she claims he failed to disclose his business relationships with her ex-husband's attorneys.
It was recently revealed that Angelina asked to have Judge John W. Ouderkirk disqualified from the proceedings, because she claims he failed to disclose his business relationships with her ex-husband's attorneys.
Angelina's lawyer Samantha Bley DeJean discovered that the judge had an "ongoing professional and financial relationship" with Pitt's attorneys Anne C. Kiley and Lance Spiegel.
According to papers filed by Angelina's counsel, "There were matters that Judge Ouderkirk did not ultimately disclose until [Jolie's] counsel conducted her own inquiry into missing disclosures left [Jolie] without an ... [understanding] of the professional relationship between the judge and [Pitt's] counsel.
"[Bley DeJean ]on her own initiative, discovered the truth of what should have been disclosed long before."
A source told the New York Post's Page Six: "Angelina isn't trying to delay this process. In fact, the court papers state that she wants to get this issue with the judge resolved so there are no further delays [in deciding custody and financial issues like child support]."
According to the publication, it is claimed that the judge worked on a number of cases for Pitt's lead attorney Spiegel and one for his other attorney Kiley, which were not disclosed.
The new papers filed state: "When Judge Ouderkirk was asked by Jolie's team why he did not disclose these cases, he [appeared] to concede that he had a duty to do so. And his failure to do so was an error.
"There was an ever-increasing business relationships between Judge Ouderkirk and [Pitt's] counsel - relationships that were providing a steady stream of income to Judge Ouderkirk and the potential for future work.
“These are precisely the type of repeat customer circumstances that create doubts about a privately-compensated private judge's ability to remain impartial.
"No one thought to let [Jolie] know. Instead, it was a little secret between Judge Ouderkirk and [Pitt's] counsel.
“And, as is often true, the cover-up (or perceived cover-up) drives home the concern that something untoward is happening."
The filing from Angelina's team states "disqualification is the required remedy for the private judge's failure to disclose ongoing financial and professional relationships with respondent's counsel which create at least a doubt about impartiality".
Bley DeJean said in a statement: "As is set forth in the filing, all my client is asking for is a fair trial based on facts, with no special favours extended to either side.
“The only way litigants can trust the process is for everyone involved to ensure that there is transparency and impartiality."
Angelina, 45 and Brad. 56 - who were in a relationship for a decade before they got married in 2014 and have six children together - were declared legally divorced in April 2019, but parts of their case remain unresolved.
Angelina and Brad opted to pay for a private judge in their divorce case in order to keep the details of their divorce out of the public domain, although some legal moves must still be made within standard court procedure.