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Brazilian kin to fight to get boy back from U.S.

/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

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. (Msnbc.com 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.