Video: Home for Christmas?

  1. Closed captioning of: Home for Christmas?

    >>> stephanie, thank you. new jersey father, david goldman , has heard it before. but today could be the day that he is finally able to bring his son, sean , home from brazil . we'll talk to goldman live from rio de janeiro in a moment. but first, nbc's jeff rossen is there with the latest. good morning to you, jeff.

    >> reporter: hi, meredith. good morning to you from brazil . it may all come down to this, all the fighting, all the waiting over five years for david goldman . brazil's supreme court set to make the final decision today. and they actually have the power to send sean home. in fact, if this ruling goes in david 's favor, and there's no telling right now which way it will go or at what time today it will come down, david goldman and sean goldman could reunite and be on a plane back for the u.s. this afternoon. christmas -time in rio de janeiro and the beaches are packed. just across the street, david goldman spent the weekend holed up inside his hotel room . hoping christmas comes early. today, he'll find out. the gift of a long-awaited reunion with his son, sean , or more disappointment.

    >> people are making holiday plans to be with their families and --

    >> i'm holed up in a hotel.

    >> trying to get your family back.

    >> trying to put my family together as much as possible.

    >> reporter: david flew to rio last week after a federal appeals court ruled in his favor. ordering sean 's immediate return to the u.s. but then, a setback, an emergency injunction keeping sean in brazil again. david 's legal team file rad motion to overturn it. and today, brazil's supreme court will make its ruling, whether to keep sean in brazil or send him home to new jersey with his father, david .

    >> what do you think the chances are of getting sean back on this trip?

    >> i'm hopeful.

    >> reporter: and the stakes just got bigger. new jersey senator, frank lautenberg has put an indefinite hold on a trade bill that benefits brazil 's economy, all to coax the courts to release sean .

    >> you can't hold a child that belongs to an american citizen . under any, with any excuse, just bring that boy back.

    >> reporter: david 's wife, brought sean to brazil in 2004 to visit family. mother and son never came back. she divorced david , got remarried, got pregnant. and died during childbirth. david is the only living parent. but her new brazilian husband, the wealthy, well-connected lawyer has been fighting to keep sean in brazil . now in a bizarre twist, his family has invited david over for christmas .

    >> this will be a long-awaited family reunion . i hope you can accept the visitation.

    >> reporter: david calls it a employ and says we won't go.

    >> last time we were together, he loved building these.

    >> reporter: instead, he's focused on a permanent reunion and showed me the presents he's packed for sean . they haven't seen each other in six months.

    >> do you feel any closer now than you did on other trips? you've been here 14 or 15 times.

    >> until we're on the plane together and the wheels are up, i'm only hopeful.

    >> reporter: i spent a lot of time with david goldman this weekend. and even in his private moments off-camera, that is his mantra, he will not celebrate a victory until he has his son, sean , in his arms physically on the airplane. we should mention this decision could come down at any time. and if it goes david 's way, the brazilian family could still appeal, but it's unclear if a lower court would even take that appeal, if the supreme court , the highest court in this land goes his way. meredith.

    >> jeff rossen , thank you very much.

updated 12/21/2009 5:38:02 PM ET 2009-12-21T22:38:02

A Supreme Court ruling that could reunite a New Jersey father with his young son after a five-year custody battle was delayed for a day by the chief justice, an official said Monday.

An official at the Supreme Court said the ruling by Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes, which had been expected Monday, would be made Tuesday.

The official, who agreed to discuss the matter only if not quoted by name because she was not authorized to discuss the case, gave no reason for the delay.

The wait was agonizing for David Goldman, who has pledged to fight for his son Sean as long as it takes.

"I remain hopeful and I pray that this will come to an end," Goldman told NBC's "TODAY" show on Monday.

Mendes will rule on appeals made by Goldman and Brazil's attorney general seeking to lift a stay on a lower court's order that Sean be handed over to his father.

Video: Goldman: It's an abduction case If Mendes lifts the stay, lawyers in both camps said Sean's Brazilian relatives could still appeal to the nation's highest appeals court — but it was questionable whether that court would be willing to review the case if the Supreme Court backs a lower federal court ruling awarding custody to Goldman.

New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, in Brazil to support Goldman, expressed optimism ahead of the ruling.

"I think it is only a matter of 'when' and not 'if,' and we are hoping that the abductors will convey this young boy ... as soon as the chief justice renders his decision," the Republican congressman said.

Goldman, 42, launched his case in U.S. and Brazilian courts after Sean was brought by his mother in 2004 to her native Brazil, where she then divorced Goldman and remarried. She died last year in childbirth, and the boy has lived with his stepfather since.

The lawyer for the boy's Brazilian family offered to negotiate a settlement, and the family also invited Goldman to spend Christmas with them. Goldman did not say whether he would accept the invitation if the case was not resolved this week.

Asked if Sean's Brazilian family would be able to visit the boy, Goldman said yes. "I will not do to them what they've done to Sean and me," he said.

Senator blocks trade deal
The case has affected diplomatic ties between Brazil and the U.S., reaching talks between President Barack Obama and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. A U.S. senator, reacting to the case, has blocked the renewal of a $2.75 billion trade deal that would lift tariffs on some Brazilian exports.

The U.S. State Department pressed for the boy to be returned. But a Brazilian Supreme Court justice on Thursday stayed a lower court decision ordering Sean to be turned over to his father.

Timeline: Brazil custody battleGoldman and Brazil's attorney general both filed appeals Friday asking the Supreme Court to overturn the justice's decision to block Sean's return while the court considers hearing direct testimony from the boy.

The Brazilian family's lawyer, Sergio Tostes, told the AP he would like to see a negotiated settlement, saying he wanted to end the damage being done to Sean and to U.S.-Brazil relations.

"We're raising the white flag and saying: 'Let's get together, let's talk. We're the adults, we have responsibilities, so let's start to have a constructive conversation,'" Tostes said.

Goldman, however, was in no mood to negotiate.

"This isn't about a shared custody — I'm his dad, I'm his only parent," Goldman said. "This isn't a custody case — it's an abduction case."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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