Lawyer says she persuaded CBS News not to air interview

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — A lawyer for the New Jersey father involved in an international custody fight says she persuaded CBS News not to broadcast an interview with the 9-year-old boy. A network spokeswoman disputes the reason behind the decision not to air the piece.

Patricia Apy, a lawyer for David Goldman, who is seeking to bring his son to the U.S. from Brazil, said CBS scrapped airing the interview after she told the network that putting the boy in the media violates an order from a Brazilian judge. Further, she said, her client is recognized in Brazil and the U.S. as the child's custodian and would need to give permission for the interview.

Apy said that the boy was in a fragile state and that allowing him to be interviewed could damage him further.

CBS News spokeswoman Louise Bashi said the decision not to air the interview was an editorial one.

“'The Early Show' wanted to allow the Brazilian family to share their story in their own words. The decision to pull (the boy's) interview was an editorial one, not impacted by any court rulings,” Bashi said in a prepared statement.

On June 21 and 22, the network ran promotional pieces that showed the boy himself saying he wanted to remain in Brazil.

The New Jersey-born boy's mother, Bruna Bianchi, took him to her native Brazil when he was 4 for what was planned as a vacation and never returned. She married and died last year from complications during childbirth.

David Goldman has been seeking custody for years under the Hague Convention on International Child Abductions, which lays out how a situation should be handled when one parent takes a child to another country without permission of the other.

The family in Brazil contends the child should stay in Rio de Janeiro.

Two Brazilian family members were in the United States yesterday to make their case that the boy is better off in Brazil than returning to the state of New Jersey to live with his father.

He “wants to stay in Brazil with the family,” his maternal grandmother, Silvana Bianchi, said in a live televised interview. “It's very hard for him to separate from his sister.”

Bruna Bianchi's new husband, Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, also in New York , said the boy has spent most of his life in Brazil and feels safe there. The child now lives with Lins e Silva, who is seeking to keep it that way.

Earlier this month, a federal court in Brazil ruled that Goldman should be able to get custody and return the boy to New Jersey. A handover of the boy has been held up by an appeal. No ruling on it is expected for several weeks.

In the meantime, a Brazilian judge ruled last week that Goldman could go to Brazil and have custody there for six days a week until the case is resolved.

So far, Goldman has not taken up that offer. His lawyer has said he wasn't confident that an appeal wouldn't scuttle that ruling and he was also concerned about the logistics of caring for the boy in Brazil.

“We don't want this child to be living six days a week in a hotel,” Apy said.

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