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I had my doubts about David Goldman’s sincerity and those doubts were accentuated this week when the father of 9-year old Sean called on the boy’s step father to pony up $500,000 in expenses incurred during the five-year fight to get his son back.
Goldman was reunited with his son last week and took him to the US to restart their life together.
But instead of concentrating on bonding with his son and crucially, mending relations with the people who looked after him for most of his young life, Goldman is going after the Brazilian family’s money.
It is a cheap, pathetic and misguided stunt and one that can only drive a further wedge between the two warring families. Sergio Tostes, lawyer for the Brazilian step family, said the move “showed Goldman’s true character” and it is hard to argue with that.
Once again, I pity poor Sean.
I wanted to make one last comment on the Sean Goldman case following a conversation I had with the lawyer for Sean’s American dad David.
David Goldman’s lawyers rarely spoke with journalists throughout this case, preferring to let either David speak on camera, or allowing Chris Smith, his Congressman, to do the talking for him.
But moments after Sean and David’s plane took off his lawyer Marcos Ortiz called me. What he told me made me cringe for Sean.
According to Ortiz, David offered to pick up Sean at the grandmother’s condominium to avoid a scene at the consulate. The step family agreed, on the condition that the grandmother accompany them on the flight out. (The same grandmother who made public the supposed letter Sean wrote to the president asking to stay in Brazil forever, and the same grandmother behind at least one of the appeals to the Supreme Court.)
When David Goldman said he did not want that woman on the flight – understandably given that her attacks were the most outspoken – the step family threw their toys out the pram. They told Goldman’s lawyers that without that concession they’d deliver Sean on foot to the consulate.
“We were very worried as we knew there’d be a lot of people outside,” Ortiz told me. “We asked for them not to do that. The consulate told them the doors to the garage would be open and that they could bring him in quietly. What you saw on television, those images, that was all down to the decision by the mother’s family and their lawyers.”
So the step family, the ones that cared enough for Sean to fight years of court battles to keep him, knowingly made him walk that gauntlet of press outside the consulate because they never got their own way.
It made me think that whatever kind of dad David Goldman turns out to be, the kid is best off out of here.
The Sean Goldman case reached its denouement on Thursday, when the boy was handed over to his father at the US Consulate in Rio de Janeiro.
I got a lucky scooplet yesterday and was first to report that the case was essentially over. The lawyer for the Brazilian step family called round journalists to announce they would no longer be appealing the Supreme Court decision, and were essentially giving up their claim to the boy.
I must have been at the top of his To Call list and so Time was the first to get the story online (according to my reading of the timings on Google news.)
Sometimes we get lucky, whether it be getting a call first, receiving an important email before anyone else, or just being in the right place at the right time. On those occasions, it doesn’t matter how much leg work you’ve put in (and I only really started on this story last week).
It’s unfair and when you’re not the beneficiary it’s very, very annoying. But as my good old dad always said, It’s better to be lucky than good.
It’s been an unusual couple of weeks in that I’ve spent most of my time preparing stories to go in the paper during that quiet period between Christmas and New Year.
But I was called onto a breaking story Friday and wrote this piece about the case of Sean Goldman, the 9-year old kid who is the subject of a tug of war between his American father and his late mother’s Brazilian family.
My piece is more about the view from Brazil and is a counterpoint to a more US-focused article from my colleague in Miami, who compares this case with the Elian Gonzalez episode in the US and the reactions of the respective governments.
The main message I wanted to hammer home was that although the Brazilian justice system has worked, it has worked painfully slowly.
Brazilian lawyers, echoing their Foreign Minister, stress this case is a matter for courts to decide – even though Brazil is a signatory to the Hague Convention, under which countries agree to return kidnapped children within six weeks.
They reiterate that courts have merely done their job in responding to the actions and appeals that have drawn the case out for more than a year. The problem, though, is when the wheels of justice grind as slowly as now, the path is perverted.
As the saying goes, Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.