New Jersey dad David Goldman today accused his Brazilian in-laws, who he has been battling for five years over custody of his son, of treatment that is "beyond cruel."
The in-laws responded today by inviting Goldman to spend Christmas Eve with 9-year-old Sean and his Brazilian family.
The invite came in news conference read by Sergio Tostes, the lawyer for the Brazilian family that has raised Sean for the past five years. The boy's maternal grandmother Silvana Bianchi sat next to Tostes during the news conference.
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.
Earlier today, Goldman told ABC News 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 flew to Rio this week after Brazil's Supreme Court decision allowed him to take custody of his son, but within hours of landing on Thursday, Goldman received word that a judge sided with a petition filed by the boy's Brazilian family that Sean should remain in the country until it is decided whether he will testify in court.
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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."
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who is traveling with Goldman, said he would appeal the judge's decision to keep Sean in Brazil .
"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.
"We do believe this will be overcome. There is an appeal that will happen today," Smith said. He added, "The chief justice of the Brazilian supreme court has it within his power to overturn this illogical and unethical stay by giving a boy back to his dad."
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.