Tuesday, 17 November 2020

EXCLUSIVE: It's official! Angelina Jolie loses bid to remove judge who officiated her and Brad Pitt's wedding from divorce case after claiming he had undisclosed ties to her ex's team

 Angelina Jolie has officially lost her battle to remove the judge from her bitter divorce proceedings with ex Brad Pitt, court documents obtained by DailyMail.com show. 

Jolie had previously claimed that Judge John W. Ouderkirk - who married the couple at their lavish French wedding in 2014 - failed to disclose 'ongoing business and professional relationships' that he had with Pitt's legal team.

The actress claimed she didn't think it was 'fair' to have him preside over the ongoing four-year divorce battle.

However, in court documents filed on Monday, the Superior Court of California in Orange County officially ruled that Ouderkirk would remain on the case.  

The ruling comes as a source close to the former couple told DailyMail.com: 'This was the judge who was originally brought in by Angie's team. He married them, for heaven's sake.

'It's a prime example of someone who tried to get the referee removed late in the game because they weren't going to like the outcome.'

Angelina Jolie has officially lost her battle to remove Judge John W. Ouderkirk from her bitter divorce proceedings with ex-husband Brad Pitt, court documents obtained by DailyMail.com show.
The ruling comes as a source close to the former couple told DailyMail.com: 'This was the judge who was originally brought in by Angie's team. He married them, for heaven's sake'

Angelina Jolie has officially lost her battle to remove Judge John W. Ouderkirk from her bitter divorce proceedings with ex-husband Brad Pitt, court documents obtained by DailyMail.com show

However, in court documents filed on Monday, the Superior Court of California in Orange County officially ruled that Ouderkirk would be handling their bitter divorce

However, in court documents filed on Monday, the Superior Court of California in Orange County officially ruled that Ouderkirk would be handling their bitter divorce

The former power couple - who first split in 2016, effectively ending a 12-year relationship and two years of marriage - share six children, Maddox, 19, Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 14, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 12. 

The court ruling released on Monday stated Ouderkirk had made the required disclosures of when he had previously been involved in cases with the law firm representing Pitt. 

Jolie had previously claimed that Ouderkirk - who married the couple at their lavish French wedding in 2014 - failed to disclose 'ongoing business and professional relationships' that he had with Pitt's legal team. She claimed she didn't think it was 'fair' to have him preside over the ongoing four-year divorce case

Ongoing battle: Bratt Pitt had slammed his ex-wife Angelina Jolie for attempting to delay their almost four-year divorce case, saying that it will be their children who are 'hurt most'

They added that Jolie was aware of Ouderkirk's appointment and former dealings since August 2018 and could have taken issue then, making her recent legal bid 'untimely'. 

 In August, Jolie was accused of deliberately trying to delay their bitter four-year long divorce battle by Pitt's legal team, after she filed a request to remove Ouderkirk. 

But Jolie hit back via her own legal representative, who said her client just wanted a 'fair trial' with 'no special favors' for either herself or Pitt. 

'All my client is asking for is a fair trial based on facts, with no special favors extended to either side,' Jolie's lawyer, Samantha Bley DeJean, told UsWeekly in a statement last month. 

The statement added: 'The only way litigants can trust the process is for everyone involved to ensure that there’s transparency and impartiality.'

The report also added a comment from Neama Rahmani, president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, who believes that Judge Ouderkirk is 'biased in Brad's favor' due to the personal connections they have. 

Part of the family: Judge John W. Ouderkirk previously married the former couple in 2014 at their French estate, Château Miraval (pictured above)

Part of the family: Judge John W. Ouderkirk previously married the former couple in 2014 at their French estate, Château Miraval (pictured above)

An insider recently told UsWeekly of the divorce battle: 'They're at a total impasse. And there's no end in sight.'

As previously reported in court documents, Jolie claimed that Ouderkirk - who married the couple at their lavish French wedding in 2014 - failed to disclose 'ongoing business and professional relationships' that he had with Pitt's legal team.

However, Pitt responded in papers filed on August 13, calling Jolie's filing a 'Hail Mary' - an American Football reference to deliberately delay a game.

In them, Pitt's legal team accuses the actress of making a 'transparently tactical gambit' to delay matters, adding that it will be their own children who are 'hurt most' by the hold up. 

The papers describe Jolie's request as 'a thinly-veiled attempt by Jolie to delay the adjudication of long-pending custody issues in this case.'    

In Pitt's response, he also pointed out three times where Jolie and her lawyers are said to have asked to extend Ouderkirk's appointment to their ongoing divorce case.

The documents add that Pitt is concerned about how the continued delays will affect their children, saying: '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's lawyer DeJean responded to Pitt's filing last week in a statement to PEOPLE saying: 'It is unfortunate that Mr. Pitt's team has sought to intervene ahead of Judge Ouderkirk's response.'

'One can only conclude that this is an attempt to obstruct or influence Judge Ouderkirk's answer. Any delay in these proceedings is due to their zealous attempt to create an unrecognized special exception for their client's benefit.'  

Jolie's bitter divorce battle with Brad Pitt hit yet another bump in the road last month after the actress parted ways with one of her high-priced attorneys. A source close to Jolie told DailyMail.com: 'Angelina has fought tooth and nail to get what she wants in this divorce, when it comes to her kids she won't back down and she has shown right from the start that she means business.' Pictured: Jolie with children (l-r): Knox, Vivienne, Pax, Shiloh, Zahara and Maddox in 2019

Jolie's bitter divorce battle with Brad Pitt hit yet another bump in the road last month after the actress parted ways with one of her high-priced attorneys. A source close to Jolie told DailyMail.com: 'Angelina has fought tooth and nail to get what she wants in this divorce, when it comes to her kids she won't back down and she has shown right from the start that she means business.' Pictured: Jolie with children (l-r): Knox, Vivienne, Pax, Shiloh, Zahara and Maddox in 2019

The report adds that a source close to Pitt's team claim that it was Jolie's team who actually knew the judge first, and that 'the only excuse for their filing is that her team knew they were likely to lose and they needed to stall by changing the referee in the fourth quarter.' 

'This is the Judge who married them, someone who her team knew well and who her team actually introduced to the couple,' a Pitt source claims.

Late last month, the former couple's divorce hit hit yet another bump in the road after Jolie parted ways with one of her high-priced attorneys.

Priya Sopori, a Los Angeles-based former federal prosecutor who has been working with Jolie's lead lawyer, Samantha DeJean, is out after filing a 'Notice of Withdrawal of Attorney of Record' with LA Superior Court, DailyMail.com learned.

Experienced trial bulldog Sopori is a partner with California law firm Greenberg Glusker LLP.

It's not clear whether Jolie - who is fighting Pitt's efforts to win 50/50 custody of their children - fired Sopori or if the attorney made the decision to quit.

But the change in her high profile team at this late stage signals Jolie's resolve to get what she wants has only hardened.

A source close to Jolie told DailyMail.com: 'Angelina has fought tooth and nail to get what she wants in this divorce, when it comes to her kids she won't back down.'

'She's paying her legal team a fortune, so if she believes one of her lawyers needs to go she won't hesitate to pull the trigger.'  

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