Hollywood Actor, Brad Pitt has fired back at ex-wife Angelina Jolie after she filed a request earlier this week to remove Judge John W. Ouderkirk from their almost four-year-long divorce battle.
The former couple who first split in 2016 after 12-years together and six children, Maddox, 19, Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 14, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 12 are facing a custody battle in their divorce drama.
Angelina, 45, filed papers on August 7 claiming that Judge Ouderkirk who married the former couple at their French estate Château Miraval in 2014 -failed to disclose other ‘business relationships’ he had with Pitt’s lawyers, suggesting that he would be ‘biased’ during their divorce case.
Jolie alleged in her filing that Ouderkirk ‘failed to make timely mandatory disclosures of ongoing business and professional relationships between himself’ and Pitt’s legal team.
She added in her request that she was ‘never afforded the opportunity to even raise a concern or to object to 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.’
‘These are precisely the type of repeat customer circumstances that create doubts about a privately-compensated private judge’s ability to remain impartial.’
But Pitt, 56, according to legal documents obtained by PEOPLE magazine, has responded in papers filed on Thursday, August 13, calling Jolie’s filing a ‘Hail Mary’ – an American Football reference to deliberately delay a game .
In the legal documents, 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 documents say Jolie’s request is ‘a thinly-veiled attempt by Jolie to delay the adjudication of long-pending custody issues in this case.’
According to Pitt’s lawyers, Jolie had been made fully aware that Ouderkirk had accepted ‘additional new engagements’ involving the actor’s team, and that she had ‘never objected’ to Ouderkirk’s ‘continued involvement’ in the proceedings until now.
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 divorce delays will affect their children:
‘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, Samantha Bley DeJean, responded to Pitt’s filing 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.’
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,’