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Brazil Custody Case: Ruling Expected Today for N.J. Dad David Goldman and Son Sean Goldman

(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
(Family Photo)
(Family Photo)
(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
RIO DE JANEIRO (CBS/AP) An official at Brazil's Supreme Court says a ruling which could reunite New Jersey dad David Goldman with his young son, Sean, after a five-year custody battle could come Tuesday.
Photo: David Goldman talks to press in Rio de Janeiro, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009.

PICTURES: David Goldman Fights for Son

The official, who agreed to speak only if her name wasn't used, said Monday that the ruling by Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes was being delayed for a day past the original target date.

Goldman, whose son has been raised by a powerful Brazilian family after his wife fled America, remaried and died giving birth to another child, has pledged to fight for Sean as long as it takes.

Photo: Sean Goldman.

PICTURES: David Goldman Fights for Son

He said he was still holding out hope of being reunited in time to celebrate the holidays with him in the United States.

His battle with the Brazilian courts has been long and complicated. In the latest round, Goldman and Brazil's attorney general appealed to the country's Supreme Court to lift a stay on a lower court's ruling that Sean be returned to his father.

Photo: David Goldman with his son, Sean.

PICTURES: David Goldman Fights for Son

Mendes appeared close to ruling on that appeal, according to the unnamed official.

If Mendes lifted the stay, lawyers in both camps said Sean's Brazilian relatives could still appeal to the nation's highest appeals court — but it was questionable whether that court would be willing to review the case if the Supreme Court backs a lower federal court ruling awarding custody to Goldman.

Photo: David Goldman, right, and New Jersey Rep. Christopher Smith, arriving in Brazil Feb. 5, 2009.

PICTURES: David Goldman Fights for Son

New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, who is in Brazil to support Goldman, expressed optimism Monday.

"I think it is only a matter of when and not if, and we are hoping that the abductors will convey this young boy ... as soon as the chief justice renders his decision," the Republican congressman said.

Brazilians protest against David Goldman in Rio de Janeiro, March 15, 2009.

PICTURES: David Goldman Fights for Son

Goldman, 42, launched his case in U.S. and Brazilian courts after Sean was brought by his mother in 2004 to her native Brazil, where she then divorced Goldman and remarried Joao Paulo Lins e Silva. She died last year in childbirth, and the boy has lived with his stepfather since.

An earlier report by NBC said the boy's Brazilian family had offered to fly Sean to spend Christmas with his father in America as long as his Brazilian grandmother could go along and insure the boy's return.

A lawyer for the family said Tuesday that NBC got it wrong.

"The NBC Story is totally untrue," Sergio Tostes wrote in a letter to CBS News. "This offer has never been on the table. I'm sorry to see reporters fabricating news. We are still waiting on what the decision of the Supreme Court will say.

The case has affected diplomatic ties between Brazil and the U.S., reaching talks between President Barack Obama and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

A U.S. senator, reacting to the case, has blocked the renewal of a $2.75 billion trade deal that would lift tariffs on some Brazilian exports.

The U.S. Department of State pressed for the boy to be returned.

The Brazilian family's lawyer, Sergio Tostes, told the AP he would like to see a negotiated settlement, saying he wanted to end the damage being done to Sean and to U.S.-Brazil relations.

But Goldman said that as the child's only surviving parent he wasn't interested in shared custody.

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PICTURES: David Goldman Fights for Son

PREVIOUSLY ON CRIMESIDER
December 17, 2009 - David Goldman Fights Brazilian Court for Abducted Son and Wins; Will Sean Be Home for Holidays?
June 30, 2009 - Boy Must Stay in Brazil For Now, Judge Rules
June 3, 2009 - Not So Fast: Brazilian Court Keeps American Dad From Son
June 2, 2009 - Father Battles For Son And Wins

  • Edecio Martinez

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