Custody case may not hear Gibson rants

Custody case may not hear Gibson rants

A series of Mel Gibson’s racist and sexist rants might not be used as evidence during his child custody dispute, a lawyer for his ex-girlfriend told a judge.

The disclosure came a week after Oksana Grigorieva’s lawyer Daniel Horowitz told the court that his client was dropping her claims that the Hollywood star physically abused her.

The accusation stems from a case over the custody and care of their infant daughter.

Mr Horowitz’s comments came after Gibson’s lawyer Stephen Kolodny complained that he had been trying to get access to the Russian musician’s laptop for nearly a year to find out more about the recordings.

Mr Horowitz noted that Grigorieva was no longer seeking a domestic violence restraining order against Gibson and the rants were more important to those allegations than any other aspects of the case.

The recordings, which were leaked to celebrity website RadarOnline.com, included misogynistic statements about Grigorieva by the Oscar-winner and also several racial slurs. The tapes were reviewed by authorities who eventually charged Gibson with misdemeanour domestic violence battery but have never been played in open court.

The Braveheart and Lethal Weapon star pleaded no contest to the battery charge and was placed on probation and ordered to undergo counselling.

“It should be noted that the sheriff’s department did a thorough investigation of Ms Grigorieva’s laptop and turned over their findings to the district attorney, who concluded there was no evidence of any crime whatsoever by Ms Grigorieva,” her spokesman Stephen Jaffe said.

Los Angeles Superior Court judge Scott Gordon yesterday agreed to halt the case for a month to give Mr Horowitz a chance to appeal against a ruling rejecting a motion by Grigorieva to disqualify the actor-director’s lawyers from the case.

She based the disqualification request on the fact that she had consulted and met one of Mr Kolodny’s partners before the current case was filed.

But judge Gordon rejected her motion, saying Grigorieva waited too long to raise the issue.

He said the case, which has been heard largely in closed sessions, had already spanned 65 hearings and he had issued more than 100 rulings. There were thousands of pages of pleadings in the case, and most of Gibson’s filings were handled by Mr Kolodny’s firm, Gordon said.

In all, judge Gordon estimated lawyers have charged more than one million dollars for the case so far.

Mr Horowitz said he thought there were enough issues involved with Grigorieva’s consultation with Mr Kolodny’s partner, Ronald Anteau, that the appeals court may consider reviewing the case.

Judge Gordon agreed to a brief delay, but ordered a proceeding scheduled for June 23 to remain on the calendar.

The remaining issues, the judge said, related to child support and specific custody arrangements.

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