FBI Unlikely to Proceed with Brad Pitt Child Abuse Investigation, Source Says
A legal expert tells PEOPLE that because Maddox was allegedly uninjured, Brad Pitt will likely not face charges in child abuse investigation
Pitt, 52, is accused of being "verbally abusive" and getting "physical" with son Maddox, 15, while he and wife Angelina Jolie were returning from France to their L.A. home on a private plane on Sept. 14.
An investigation into the alleged incident has been launched by the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services after it was reported anonymously. It is ongoing. The case was also referred to the FBI under special aircraft jurisdiction, as the incident occurred mid-flight.
A source with knowledge of the situation previously told PEOPLE that Pitt did not strike Maddox but rather, “made contact” with him “in the shoulder area.”
“There was absolutely no physical injury to him,” the source explained.
Pitt was allegedly drunk, and arguing with Jolie. The source told PEOPLE, “There was a parent-child argument which was not handled in the right way and escalated more than it should have.”
On Thursday, the FBI said in a statement to PEOPLE that they are “continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued.”
A source close to the actor tells PEOPLE that it does not seem likely at this time that the FBI will be recommending further investigation into the matter.
A criminal law expert agrees.
“I find it very hard to believe that they would take action with the facts that have been presented, given the fact that I don’t believe the child received any injuries,” David Kubiliun, chairman of Greenspoon Marder’s criminal law practice group tells PEOPLE.
Kubiliun explains that “As a parent, you can use certain types of punishment. Obviously, you can’t push them to the extent that they’ll sustain an injury or something in that nature.”
“From the facts that I know, the child didn’t sustain any injuries and he may have just pushed him away in the incident, so I don’t think that would rise to the level of any kind of charges being brought,” he adds. “Not only by the federal authorities but the state authorities as well. ”
Certified family law specialist Stephanie I. Blum of Reuben Raucher tells PEOPLE that DCFS is looking into the incident because they are required to investigate anything reported.
She explains, “A representative of DCFS will advise the individual of the complaints/allegations against him or her but will do so in such a way as to protect the identity of the reporting individual.”
A source previously told PEOPLE that Pitt has already been interviewed in connection with the DCFS investigation, and “takes the matter very seriously.”
Blum said that DCFS typically meets with both the parents and children involved to determine if the claims of abuse are true.
VIDEO: Brad Pitt’s Side of the Story: He ‘Did Not Hit’ Maddox as Plane Fight with Angelina Jolie ‘Got Out of Hand,’ Says Source
At the investigation’s completion, they will decide whether or not the allegations are true. If they’re determined to be unfounded, DCFS will completely close the case, said Blum.
DCFS’ involvement into the couple’s divorce will complicate handling custody agreements, Blum speculates.
Jolie requested sole physical custody of the couple’s six children when she filed for divorce in Los Angeles, Monday.
“It is not better for anyone, not the children, and not the parents to be in Dependency Court, which is where the case could end up if DCFS believes that a child/children is a victim of child abuse,” Blum explains. “Angelina and Brad (and their children) are far better off working through their custody issues between them (via counsel if necessary) or if they cannot broker an agreement, by letting the family law court decide custody.”
•Reporting by KARA WARNER