Angelina Jolie feels 'something untoward' afoot in judge's dealing with Brad Pitt's counsel, doesn't want delay
Angelina Jolie reportedly requested a private judge to be disqualified from overseeing her divorce proceedings with ex Brad Pitt because she was “concerned that something untoward was happening.” We previously reported that Jolie argued in a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, August 10, that Judge John W. Ouderkirk was "too late" and "not forthcoming enough" about other cases he was involved in with Pitt's attorney Anne C. Kiley, and therefore should be taken off the divorce case that she filed in 2016. Ouderkirk has “failed to disclose the cases that demonstrated the current, ongoing, repeat-customer relationship between the judge and Respondent’s counsel" during the Jolie-Pitt proceedings, the filing states.
The news was first broken by Page Six, which has presently elaborated on its findings, saying that Ouderkirk had an ongoing professional and financial relationship with Kiley and another of Pitt's lawyers, Lance Spiegel, which allegedly was their “little secret.”
Although the once-Hollywood power couple is divorced, they still need to decide child custody regarding their six children (although the eldest, 19-year-old Maddox, is an adult) and all financial issues with the help of a private judge. A source said, “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].”
The recent filing stated that the 'Maleficent' actress' attorney, “on her own initiative, discovered the truth of what should have been disclosed long before,” leaving "[Jolie] without an … [understanding] of the professional relationship between the judge and [Pitt’s] counsel.” It is understood that from 2012 to 2013, Ouderkirk “had heard a few cases involving [Pitt’s] counsel, but that in recent years he had only undertaken one or two cases that settled without his involvement. Hidden was the fact that Judge Ouderkirk’s relationship with Respondent’s counsel had continued and expanded into 2020.”
“No one thought to let [Jolie] know. Instead, it was a little secret between Judge Ouderkirk and [Pitt’s] counsel," the court papers stated, adding “as is often true, the cover-up (or perceived cover-up) drives home the concern that something untoward is happening."
When Jolie's legal team approached Ouderkirk, asking him why he chose not to disclose these cases, “he [appeared] to concede that he had a duty to do so. And his failure to do so was an ‘error.'” The papers further stated that the failure to reveal the “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" was "precisely the type of repeat customer circumstances that create doubts about a privately-compensated private judge’s ability to remain impartial.”
As a result, Jolie's attorney are presently seeking "disqualification" of the said judge as a "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.”
Samantha Bley DeJean, Jolie's attorney 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 favors extended to either side. The only way litigants can trust the process is for everyone involved to ensure that there is transparency and impartiality.”