Brazil Court Expected to Make Emergency Ruling Today in Goldman Custody Battle

Brazil Expected to Rule Today in Goldman Custody CaseABC News
David Goldman is expecting an emergency ruling today from the Brazil courts on whether he can finally take his son, 9-year-old Sean Goldman, home to the United States for Christmas after a five-year international custody battle.

With an emergency ruling expected in Brazil today, David Goldman is hoping he can take his 9-year-old son home for Christmas.

"It is the best thing for Sean, for he and I to be together," Goldman told "Good Morning America" today. "It is the right of a parent and a child to be together. It is our most basic principle, and we deserve that."

But after five years of trying to bring his son home after his ex-wife took Sean to Brazil and never returned, Goldman knows not to expect anything.

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"I was hopeful that I would come down here Wednesday and would be returning with my son," he said. "As usual, something happened and here I am in a hotel room in Brazil."

Goldman had been ready to take Sean home last week after Brazil's Supreme Court ruled in his favor. But shortly after he arrived in Rio de Janeiro, the same court agreed with a petition filed by Sean's Brazilian family and stayed the ruling, saying the transfer of custody would have to wait until the court decided whether Sean's own testimony could be used in the case.

Goldman said he's already prepared for the challenges Sean is sure to have adjusting to life in the United States after five years in Brazil.

"It is the right thing for him" to come home, he said. "He's been here for five years illegally, and he's been suffering severe psychological and emotional damage every day he's been here. He will need help."

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All sides seem to be ready for an end to the five-year custody battle that has made international headlines.

Congress, angry with Brazil's failure to abide by international kidnapping agreements, has stalled a multi-billion dollar trade deal. And Brazil Attorney General Luis Inacio Adams issued a statement supporting Goldman, worrying about "damage [to] the reputation of Brazil before the international community."

Even Sean Goldman's Brazilian family seems ready for a compromise.

"Everybody is suffering, especially the boy, so this is something that has to come to an end," Sergio Tostes, a lawyer for Sean's Brazilian family, said.

Goldman, however, said he has not had any direct communication with Sean's Brazilian family and doesn't know what type of negotiations they may be willing to consider.

Goldman has accused his Brazilian in-laws of treatment that is "beyond cruel."

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The in-laws invited Goldman at a press conference last week to spend Christmas Eve with 9-year-old Sean and his Brazilian family.

Tostes said the family is "putting down their guns," and didn't want to fight with Goldman over the boy's custody. The family said they want to have negotiations with Goldman, but on the condition that Sean not go to the United States right away. The boy, Tostes said, would be traumatized if he didn't spend Christmas with his Brazilian relatives.

Goldman has previously said he was uncomfortable meeting at the family's home. He's also said he doesn't want visitation rights, he wants his boy back.

Goldman told ABC News on Friday that he's not sure what it will take to bring Sean home, but that he'll do whatever he can to protect his son.

"It should be so simple shouldn't it? Just a parent and a child," he said. "Not two countries, not big governments, not judges. It's just the right of a parent and their child."

Goldman claimed his son has been "tortured," sleep deprived and psychologically abused by his Brazilian family's attempts to portray Goldman as the bad guy.

"He's being psychologically brainwashed," he said. "You cannot hug your father, you cannot love your father. Your father abandoned you."

"He needs to come home, he needs to be freed from this," Goldman said. "He needs to be a little boy. He can't live with this pressure."

Goldman said he has seen Sean four times so far this year. The beginning of the visits, he said, are typically marred by the presence of the "big, hairy guy" who accompanies Sean. But once the two are alone, Goldman said the bond begins to return.

"And we would play, we would love, we would be father and son," he said.

Sean has been in Brazil since 2004, when he went on vacation with his mother, Bruna Bianchi, and never returned. Instead Bianchi remarried a politically connected lawyer and died giving birth last year.

The Hague convention requires children such as Sean who are unlawfully taken to other countries to be returned. But Bianchi's husband refused to send him back and a custody battle ensued.

"Everyone knows what is going on, everyone knows the abuse my son is being afflicted by and it is very, very sad. And I honestly believe that the justice system doesn't want to be looked at as a country that is a safe haven for kidnappers," Goldman said.

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Sean's Brazilian family insists that the issue should remain between the two families, and that Sean wants to stay in his mother's native country.

"This is not a fight between two countries. There should not be any political issue involved. This is just the pursuit of the truth and the pursuit of what is in the best interest of the boy," Sergio Tostes, a lawyer representing Sean Goldman's stepfather, said.

Goldman spoke about a visit with his son on "Good Morning America" in June.

"It was so joyous," Goldman said. "And the only one question he asked me is, after we were talking, 'How come you haven't been here to see me in this time?' ... I just said, 'Sean, I've been here many times.'"

Goldman said the visits with his son were so emotionally difficult that he worried the stress from the excessively supervised visits could be damaging to Sean.

He said a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation has proved that his son has been subjected to what he called parental alienation.

Goldman said that he had no inkling of what the future held on the day he drove wife and son to airport five years ago.

"We all gave each other hugs and kisses," he said. "I waved goodbye with the blessings of a safe trip."

Katie Escherich, Brandy Zadrozny and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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