Why Is The FBI Investigating The Brad Pitt Allegations? There's A Specific Reason — UPDATE
On Tuesday, one of Hollywood's most well-known portmanteaus — Brangelina, aka Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie — split. Jolie was reportedly the one who filed for divorce from Pitt, citing irreconcilable differences. Not long after the divorce news, TMZ reported that Pitt is allegedly being investigated for child abuse allegations. Per the gossip site, Pitt allegedly had a physical and verbal altercation with his children aboard a private plane flight from France to Los Angeles on Sept. 14. TMZ later reported that the abuse allegations against the actor have allegedly been turned over to the FBI, who function on a national level, rather than a police force which operates locally. (Bustle has reached out to Pitt, the FBI, and the LAPD regarding the allegations and the claims that Pitt is being investigated, but has not heard back.) Considering that Pitt lives in Los Angeles, it's worth asking: why would the FBI become involved with the Pitt allegations?
Update: The FBI released the following statement to Bustle: “In response to your inquiry regarding allegations within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; specifically, an aircraft carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued.”
Earlier: TMZ first reported that Pitt was under investigation for these allegations by the LAPD, but, according to the Independent (and confirmed by numerous outlets), the LAPD quickly denied such claims. Then TMZ reported that the LAPD's Abused Child Unit (ACU) did allegedly receive the report, but reportedly determined that the department did not have jurisdiction because the alleged incident happened during a flight from France to the U.S. Since the alleged incident occurred on a Minnesota airport tarmac, according to a local Minnesota CBS affiliate, it's not considered in any local department's jurisdiction — so the LAPD's ACU is then presumed to have referred the matter to the FBI.
People reported that though the LAPD does not have jurisdiction thanks to the nature of the incident's setting, the L.A. Department of Child and Family Services might still be looking into things. Bustle has reached out to the L.A. DCFS, but has not yet received a response. — but the L.A. DCFS Public Information Officer told Us Weekly, "We’re prohibited by law from disclosing case specific information or even identifying any involvement with any client." TMZ claims that the DCFS has allegedly already interviewed Pitt and Jolie, and that they plan to conduct interviews with Pitt and Jolie's six children as well. If there's any suggestion of abuse at the family's L.A. home, then the LAPD will be able to open a separate case for that.
However, it should be noted that TMZ's "Pitt sources" assert that the actor "denies committing any sort of abuse."
Additionally, the Independent reports that "a source close to the actor" told the site, "He takes the matter very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children. It’s unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light. I think the most important thing is the fact that he is cooperating and that he takes it seriously, he recognizes it is a serious matter and he is willing to do whatever will be best for his family."
The alleged incident aboard the private plane allegedly took place on September 14. Jolie separated from Pitt the following day, on September 15, and according to court documents obtained by E! News, filed for divorce on September 19.
On September 20, Pitt released the following statement to People regarding his divorce.
I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well being of our kids. I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time.
Jolie's entertainment lawyer, Robert Offer (her divorce attorney, on the other hand, is Laura Wasser), released a similar statement to Reuters.
This decision was made for the health of the family. She will not be commenting, and asks that the family be given its privacy at this time.
As the case continues to unfold, hopefully more light will be shed on the matter.