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Kelly Rutherford should go on 'apology tour' in custody dispute, says legal analyst

Legal analyst Lisa Green says Kelly Rutherford should be apologizing for defying a legal deadline as she heads to court in her ongoing child custody battle.
/ Source: TODAY

As actress Kelly Rutherford heads to court in Monaco Thursday in her ongoing battle for custody of her two children, legal analyst Lisa Green believes she needs to start by admitting wrongdoing in her latest defiance of a court order.

"She needs to start the 'Kelly Rutherford judicial apology tour,''' Green told Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist on TODAY Thursday. "She needs to say, 'I was misguided, I shouldn't have done what I did, and I'll never do it again.' Even if she does, her ex-husband can rightfully say, 'I'm not sure this won't happen again. I want supervised visitation. I'm not even sure these children should be allowed to go to America in the near future."

On Aug. 11, a New York judge ordered the children of the "Gossip Girl" actress to head back to Europe to live with their father, Daniel Giersch, who has raised their children in Monaco since 2012. The two children, Hermes, 8, and Helena, 6, spent part of this summer in New York with Rutherford, who initially refused to send them back to Giersch as previously agreed.

"She's in a lot of trouble,'' Green said. "Let's assume that she did it with a big heart because it is excruciating to return a child across the seas to an ex you don't even like. But for as far as judges are concerned, that's a really difficult error, and it puts her now in a position of someone who's considered a potential kidnapper. It means this Monaco court is going to want to see some evidence she can follow the rules."

With the children preparing to start school next week, the judge could potentially make a ruling on who will get full custody, or simply use Thursday's hearing to summarize the arguments for each side before moving forward toward a decision.

"What Kelly needs to tell the judge in Monaco is, 'This really makes no sense,''' Green said. "They belong in America with me. I will obey the law, and they have more ties in America than they do in Monaco.''

A Los Angeles judge gave Rutherford full custody over her children in May, but in July, another California judge declared the state did not have jurisdiction. Shortly after that announcement, a judge in New York also said his state does not have jurisdiction. A court in Monaco took over jurisdiction in 2014.

Rutherford can now expect close scrutiny of her actions, according to Green.

"They're going to try to make sure she doesn't pull that stunt again,'' Green said.

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