Angelina seeks removal of private judge

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Hollyhood. — Angelina Jolie is seeking the removal of the private judge in her and Brad Pitt’s divorce case.

The “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” actress wants to see Judge John Ouderkirk, the judge overseeing her divorce case, disqualified from the proceedings, because she claims he failed to disclose his business relationships with one of her ex-husband Brad Pitt’s attorneys.

According to documents filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court, Angelina argues the judge 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 Brad’s attorney Anne C. Kiley.

The documents state that during their divorce proceedings, the judge has “failed to disclose the cases that demonstrated the current, ongoing, repeat-customer relationship between the judge and Respondent’s counsel”.

Papers filed by Angelina go on to say that Brad’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”.

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.

The 45-year-old actress emphasised in her filing that a private judge must follow the same rules of disclosure and conflict of interest that other judges must.

Documents state “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”.

Angelina and Brad – 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.

Due to their private case it is not known what elements have not yet reached a conclusion, but it is thought there could be a dispute about child support payments. —