Attorneys for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie trade fire publicly over abuse allegations

Separate photographs of a female movie star in a strapless top and her male movie-star ex wearing all black
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt continue to trade legal filings in the wake of their acrimonious 2016 split.
(Associated Press)

A lawyer for Brad Pitt has responded to abuse allegations that were detailed at length this week in a legal document filed by ex-wife Angelina Jolie, saying Pitt isn’t about to cop to any false accusations. On Friday, Jolie’s attorney added his own comments to the dispute.

“Brad has owned everything he’s responsible for from day one — unlike the other side — but he’s not going to own anything he didn’t do,” Pitt attorney Anne Kiley said Thursday in a statement to The Times.

While Jolie’s allegations made big headlines this week, they aren’t exactly new. The ones in this week’s filing nearly mirror those found in an FBI document that went public in August, with one notable addition: In the Tuesday filing, Jolie alleged Pitt choked one of his children in 2016 during the divorce-precipitating incident on a private flight from France to the U.S. It also alleges a drunken Pitt struck another child in the face.

The FBI and Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services both investigated Jolie’s allegations shortly after that flight, around the time the “Girl, Interrupted” actor filed for divorce. Pitt was never charged in connection with the incident, either by the U.S. attorney’s office or on the advice of DCFS.

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A Los Angeles law enforcement source told The Times in 2016 that no punching or hitting had been alleged. Pitt told GQ in 2017 that he had stopped drinking after “boozing too much” while he was married to Jolie.


Since then, Kiley said in Thursday’s statement, Pitt “has been on the receiving end of every type of personal attack and misrepresentation. ... Brad will continue to respond in court as he has consistently done.”

A representative for Pitt declined to comment further.

However, Paul Murphy, a Jolie attorney, took issue late Friday with the Pitt camp’s statement.

“The carefully worded statement from Brad Pitt’s divorce attorney, Ms. Kiley, clearly did not address any of the very serious accusations in our Cross-Complaint. Mr. Pitt has been accused of harming his children and he has not denied any of his specific abhorrent behavior,” he said. “Instead, he is continuing his attempts to misinform and deflect, just like he has done for the last six years.”

Eve Sheedy, former executive director of the L.A. County Domestic Violence Council and former director of domestic violence policy at the L.A. City Attorney’s office, noted Friday that in situations similar to that of Pitt and Jolie, it wasn’t unusual for an abusive partner to “seek to exercise power and control” through means other than physical force, including controlling finances and decision-making.

“It takes courage for any survivor, especially those like Ms. Jolie who is subject to intensive public scrutiny, to come forward to reveal acts of abuse that were both terrifying and dangerous,” Sheedy said in a statement. “[I]n cases where specific conduct is at issue, general nonspecific denials of responsibility and efforts to lay blame on others reflect another tactic that can be used to further manipulate survivors.”

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Jolie included the detailed abuse allegations in a counterclaim to a breach of contract lawsuit Pitt filed against her in February, attempting to unwind the sale of her half of Chateau Miraval and its winery to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Stoli Group. Pitt said in the lawsuit that the couple had an understanding that neither would sell their share without the other’s approval.

Jolie’s cross-claim states that no such agreement, written, oral or implied, ever existed.

The filing notes that the 2008 purchase of Chateau Miraval was “meticulously documented by counsel from at least three countries” due to complicated ownership before Pitt and Jolie took over. Then it quotes Pitt’s business manager as writing, “Early in the process I raised the issue of a buy / sell agreement between A & B but was told by Brad it wasn’t necessary for two reasonable people to have such an agreement.”

The “Maleficent” actor said in the filing that negotiations between her and Pitt over selling him her share of the property broke down right before everything was complete, when he demanded she sign a nondisclosure agreement as part of the deal.

That NDA supposedly would have prevented her from discussing any details of what happened on the 2016 flight moving forward.