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‘I’ll never give up’ Brazil custody fight, vows dad

Though a New Jersey dad’s hopes of finally regaining custody of his son from a Brazilian family were dealt another crushing setback, he vowed that he will never give up his battle to bring the boy home.“I’ll never give up on my son,” David Goldman declared to TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Wednesday morning via satellite from Rio de Janeiro. “It’s not over.”Goldman had flown to Brazil on
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Though a New Jersey dad’s hopes of finally regaining custody of his son from a Brazilian family were dealt another crushing setback, he vowed that he will never give up his battle to bring the boy home.

“I’ll never give up on my son,” David Goldman declared to TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Wednesday morning via satellite from Rio de Janeiro. “It’s not over.”

Goldman had flown to Brazil on Monday after a Brazilian federal court judge ruled that after nearly five years, 9-year-old Sean Goldman had to be returned to his father at the U.S. consulate Wednesday afternoon. On Tuesday, one justice on the Supreme Court of Brazil, acting on a petition filed by a minor political party, canceled the order and ruled that more time was needed to determine if Goldman should get his son back.

Daunted but determined

Wednesday morning, Goldman looked exhausted and emotionally drained as he voiced his determination to continue his nearly five-year battle.

Goldman said he hoped to at least see Sean on Wednesday, but he knew that the latest twist in this international custody case that has gone to the highest levels of the American and Brazilian governments would prevent him from finally bringing Sean back to Tinton Falls, N.J.

“Bottom line right now: My son is not going to be on a plane coming home with me this afternoon,” Goldman told Vieira.

The distraught father said he fears for his son’s well-being the longer the legal tug-of-war continues.

“This isn’t good. This isn’t good at all,” he told Vieira. “He’s got to come home with me. He’s in a very unhealthy environment, and this has to stop.”

One-way trip

The boy's mother, Bruna, took Sean for a two-week vacation to her native Brazil in 2004 and never returned. Instead, she divorced David Goldman in Brazil and married Rio de Janeiro lawyer Joao Paulo Lins e Silva. Bruna died last year of complications from the birth of a subsequent child.

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Clinton pushes in custody case

March 4: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton describes her efforts to reunite David Goldman with his son.

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Hillary Clinton fights for boy abducted to Brazil

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Custody fight for son taken to Brazil isn’t over

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trueH6falsetrue1Lins e Silva is said to be from an influential Brazilian family, which allowed him to keep custody of Sean despite court rulings in New Jersey and international treaties that demanded that he be returned to his natural father.

The case seemed to begin to turn in Goldman’s favor earlier this year when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama became involved in the battle. The case has broader implications, as the State Department says there are at least 50 other American children being kept in Brazil in similar custody battles.

After Clinton’s intervention, the case was transferred from lower courts to Brazil’s federal court system, where Goldman hoped he would get a fairer hearing. He was able to visit Sean twice under tight supervision before the federal court finally ruled that he should regain custody.

Another delay

The Progressive Party argued that the boy should not be returned to the United States in such an “abrupt manner.” The party said he should stay in Brazil because he's been living here for five years and would be stripped of his current family environment of “happiness, love and comprehension.”

One judge on the Supreme Court issued the injunction keeping Sean in Brazil. The case must now be heard by the entire court, a process that could begin immediately — or could be delayed for months.

Goldman’s attorney, Patricia Apy, joined the conversation from Tampa, Fla. She said that when the Progressive Party filed its petition, she and Goldman did not think it was a serious challenge. “We thought at the time this was a sideshow,” she said.

Apy expressed hope that the full Supreme Court will move expeditiously according to international law that upholds Goldman’s parental rights.

“It’s very, very sad and very frustrating that my son is still held there in this environment, and I cannot do a thing to get him out of there,” Goldman told Vieira.

He then added, “I’m not giving up. He’s coming home.”