Angelina and Brad Going To Trial Would Be “World War III,” Says Top Lawyer

The California courts are open to the public and the press for all family law cases. Movie stars don't want that. 

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are playing nasty in the press, but they’d better settle soon, says a top Los Angeles lawyer who works out of Los Angeles Superior Court, where Angie filed for divorce

Steven Yoda, who is an attorney specializing in family law at Walzer Melcher LLP in L.A., says that if the two can’t agree to a custody agreement and let this go to trial, every embarrassing thingthe two have ever done to each other will come to light. 

“If you accept chances are it’s going to be in the public it would be World War three in L.A. Superior Court,” Steven says. “Right now Brad is working with his lawyer to file a response, he has to be positioning himself to call her out in public too. 

“It’s mutually assured destruction if it goes to court.”

Steven says the trial would also be a “madhouse,” because in California, the courts are open public proceedings—meaning the public and the press can sit in on every detail of the proceedings. 

“They do not want this to go to court,” he says. “If they really want privacy their best bet is settling.”

The court system has to be open for the first amendment rights of the press, and even though a judge could make an exception, they likely wouldn’t, because cases in family law in California must be treated the same across the board. No special treatment. Even if you are Angelina Jolie. 

Steven says that the duo’s lawyers are going back and forth now to settle and that “high level” talks are going on to try to ease some of the attention surrounding the split. 

“There’s the public position and the private behind the scenes position, their lawyers are in constant contact with them formulating a strategy,” he says. “Brad has thirty days to file a response to Angelina’s petition. It likely won’t say much in terms of detail. That’s how leaks to the press work. Celebrities have a tool that regular people don’t have.”

Destroying someone’s character in the press is its own form of trial—and they’ll both use it, Steven says. 

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