The Hollywood star Angelina Jolie suffered a major defeat in court amidst her bitter custody battle with her ex Brad Pitt, as her request to remove Judge John W. Ouderkirk from the case was denied.
Court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight show that the court has found that Ouderkirk is not disqualified from serving as a temporary judge in the case, meaning that Jolie’s request has been denied. The court documents added that Jolie failed to meet her burden of proof to show legal grounds exist for the disqualification of Ouderkirk from her divorce case.
This comes one week after Ouderkirk fired back at Jolie by saying that he had no personal bias or prejudice concerning any party‚ attorney or any other person that is involved in this case. He also “denied under penalty of perjury that he had failed to disclose multiple professional, business, and financial relationships, created and ongoing during the course of this matter, with Respondent’s counsel and their law firms in which Judge Ouderkirk was privately compensated”
“I will continue to consider accepting other cases as other additional cases may arise from time to time while the Jolie/Pitt case is still pending. Such other cases might involve party, lawyer‚ law firm and/or witnesses involved in the Jolie/Pitt matter,” Ouderkirk said.
Before Jolie’s request was denied, her attorney Samantha Bley DeJean spoke out to say that the actress just wanted a fair trial.
“All my client is asking for is a fair trial based on facts, with no special favors extended to either side,” DeJean said. “The only way litigants can trust the process is for everyone involved to ensure that there’s transparency and impartiality.”
A source told reporters that, “These are just stall tactics and efforts to change the referee late in the game because they are clearly concerned about the outcome. This doesn’t seem to benefit anyone.”
Jolie’s request to have Ouderkirk removed came three years after he was assigned to oversee her divorce case with Pitt. The Academy Award-winning actress claimed that the judge “failed to make timely mandatory disclosures of ongoing business and professional relationships between himself” and Pitt’s attorneys. Jolie also alleged that Ouderkirk did not inform her and her legal team of other divorce cases he was working on with Pitt’s lawyers, which made him “biased” in her eyes.
Pitt’s lawyers fired back by accusing Jolie of stalling and claiming that the judge’s engagements involving Pitt’s counsel were “fully disclosed” to Jolie.
“Jolie filed her request to disqualify Judge Ouderkirk and in the process delay consideration of deposition testimony and other evidence,” Pitt’s lawyers said. “Unfortunately, the individuals hurt most by Jolie’s transparently tactical gambit are the parties’ own children, who continue to be deprived of a final resolution to these custody issues.”
Jolie and Pitt split in 2016, but their custody battle regarding their six children has been ongoing since then, with both sides unable to come up with a satisfactory agreement.