Video: Brazilian family fights for Sean Goldman

  1. Closed captioning of: Brazilian family fights for Sean Goldman

    >> seeing you tomorrow.

    >>> the tug-of-war, meantime, continues over sean goldman . it does not appear to be over. the day he returned to the new jersey home he had not seen in five years, goldman 's brazilian family vows to keep up their fight to keep him. nbc's jeff rossen is here with the story this morning. hi, jeff.

    >> good morning, erin. this is not over yet. yes, david goldman won custody in brazil. yes, sean is back home in new jersey. but now his brazilian grandmother is gearing up for another battle, one her lawyer says they're planning to fight in the brazilian courts and even the u.s. courts for sean .

    >> that looks pretty cool.

    >> yeah.

    >> reporter: just as sean goldman arrived home to new jersey, as his dad david took a moment to reflect --

    >> we did it. she loves this.

    >> reporter: a new reminder that custody battles are never really over. sean 's brazilian family, who paraded him through the streets last thursday, now says the fight goes on. "taking sean away is cruel," their lawyer says, and goes on further in a statement in portuguese, translated by nbc news. "this judicial matter in brazil is not yet finished," he wrote. he said sean wants to live in brazil and his "wishes should be heard in court" and " sean 's return will take place in a timely manner." his grandmother even says she's willing to travel to the u.s. to win visitation.

    >> remember these would glow at night and you would lay here and look at the stars?

    >> yeah.

    >> reporter: but david told us he's not fighting visitation and even encouraged sean to keep in touch with his grandmother. goldman held a news conference tuesday.

    >> and called and spoke to his grandmother. when we landed after the flight to america, he texted and he also called on christmas day.

    >> is this from you?

    >> open up the card and see.

    >> reporter: with sean back on american soil, legal experts say his brazilian grandmother is facing an uphill battle .

    >> there is zero chance that sean goldman is going to go back to brazil to have visitation with his grandmother. it's just not going to happen. however, there is a chance that the grandmother might come here and that there might be some court-ordered visitation. the burden is on the grandparent to prove that the visitation would be in sean 's best interests .

    >> reporter: david told us sean is doing well and some of his earliest childhood memories are coming back.

    >> well, last night, we were coming home , he said, "where's our home?" and just to hear him say "our home" -- i waited five years for that.

    >> goldman told us he is willing to negotiate visitation with the brazilian grandmother, but he hasn't heard from her directly yet. we called her brazilian lawyer late last night, but he still hasn't gotten back to us. for now, david says he's just focused on sean and rebuilding their life together, erin.

    >> thanks so much, jeff rossen . it's 7:15, and once again, staff and news service reports
updated 12/30/2009 7:41:28 AM ET 2009-12-30T12:41:28

The Brazilian family of a 9-year-old boy returned by court order to his U.S. father said Tuesday it will fight to regain custody.

Lawyers for the Brazilian relatives of Sean Goldman said they will push forward with a request from his Brazilian grandmother to allow the boy to make his wishes known in court.

The request was initially denied, but the Supreme Court has not issued a final ruling. The highest court doesn't convene until February.

David Goldman brought Sean back from Brazil on Christmas Eve after a Supreme Court decision following a five-year international custody dispute. The boy's mother, Bruna Bianchi, took Sean to her native Brazil in 2004, divorced Goldman and remarried. Goldman began legal efforts to get his son back.

After Bianchi died last year in childbirth, her husband, Paulo Lins e Silva, continued the legal fight and won temporary custody. A ruling last week by the chief justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court finally cleared the way for the boy's return.

NBC News paid for Goldman's charter plane from Rio de Janeiro back to the U.S. The father and son stayed with relatives in Orlando, Florida, and return to Tinton Falls, N.J., on Monday.

At a news conference Tuesday in New Jersey, Goldman and his attorney, Patricia Apy, said they did not know exactly what sort of claim the Brazilian family would make.

Apy said continued litigation by the Brazilian relatives could affect visitation proceedings in New Jersey.

"Part of what we're going to wait to see is if they're going to exercise good judgment and move forward as normal grandparents," Apy said.

Goldman said his son arrived in New Jersey on Monday and was eager to play outside, even in the cold New Jersey wind. The boy is likely go to public school, though he has not yet been enrolled.

"He hasn't cried, he's just happy," Goldman said. "He just wants to have fun and not have all this pressure on his shoulders."

Visitation rights
Apy said details still need to be worked out for conditions of visitation for the boy's family in Brazil.

Goldman said he doesn't want to deny them access to the boy the way they kept him away.

There could also be legislation to address other international abduction cases.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who traveled to Brazil with Goldman several times, is pushing a bill that would allow the U.S. to impose sanctions on countries that don't comply with an international treaty on how to handle similar abduction cases.

There are about 2,800 such cases worldwide involving children from the U.S., officials say.

‘Checkbook journalism’
Also Tuesday, a professional media group criticized NBC for ferrying the Goldmans back to the United States on a chartered plane. ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Calling it an example of "checkbook journalism," the Society of Professional Journalists said the arrangement damages the network's credibility.

NBC spokeswoman Lauren Kapp said the network invited them to ride on a plane that had already been booked to carry its own employees home for the holidays, and "TODAY's" exclusive interview was booked before the invitation was extended.

An attorney for Goldman said Tuesday that there was never a contract with NBC and that the Goldman camp was loyal to the network because it did a thorough report on his situation a year ago, before the story became major news.

"There was no quid pro quo," Apy said, adding that some other media outlets suggested favors in return for access, and that Goldman turned them down.

She said Goldman accepted the flight in part because of fears that multiple camera crews might be onboard if they flew back to the U.S. on a commercial flight.

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


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