IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

TV interview of boy in custody fight won’t air

Brazilian family members of a boy at the center of a custody battle were in the U.S. on Tuesday to make their case that the boy is better off in Brazil than returning to live with his father.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Two Brazilian family members of a boy at the center of an international custody battle were in the United States on Tuesday to make their case that the boy is better off in Brazil than returning to the state of New Jersey to live with his father.

But the 9-year-old did not say so himself, as CBS decided not to air an interview with the boy during its report on "The Early Show." On Sunday and Monday, the network ran promotional pieces that showed the boy himself saying he wanted to remain in Brazil.

While the network did not show the interview, it did show video of the boy playing basketball.

Patricia Apy, a lawyer for David Goldman, who is seeking to bring his son to the U.S., said CBS scrapped airing the interview after she told the network that putting the boy in the media violates an order from a Brazilian judge. Further, she said, her client is recognized in Brazil and the U.S. as the child's custodian and would need to give permission for the interview.

She said that he is in a fragile state and that allowing him to be interviewed could damage him further.

A CBS News spokeswoman said the decision not to air the interview was an editorial one.

"'The Early Show' wanted to allow the Brazilian family to share their story in their own words. The decision to pull (the boy's) interview was an editorial one, not impacted by any court rulings," spokeswoman Louise Bashi said in a prepared statement.

The New Jersey-born boy's mother, Bruna Bianchi, took him to her native Brazil when he was 4 for what was planned as a vacation and never returned. She married and died last year from complications during childbirth.

David Goldman has been seeking custody for years under the Hague Convention on International Child Abductions, which lays out how it should be handled when one parent takes a child to another country without permission of the other.

The family in Brazil contends the child should stay in Rio de Janeiro.

He "wants to stay in Brazil with the family," his maternal grandmother, Silvana Bianchi, said in a live televised interview. "It's very hard for him to separate from his sister."

Bruna Bianchi's new husband, Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, also in New York, said the boy has spent most of his life in Brazil and feels safe there. The child now lives with Lins e Silva, who wants to keep it that way.

Earlier this month, a federal court in Brazil ruled that the Tinton Falls charter boat operator should be able to get custody and return the boy to New Jersey. A handover of the boy has been held up by an appeal. No ruling on it is expected for several weeks.

But last week, a Brazilian judge ruled that Goldman could go to Brazil and have custody there for six days a week until the case is resolved.

So far, Goldman has not taken up that offer. His lawyer has said he wasn't confident that an appeal wouldn't scuttle it and he's also concerned about the logistics of caring for the boy in Brazil.

"We don't want this child to be living six days a week in a hotel," Apy said.