Just when you thought the Baby Veronica soap opera had gone off the air, here comes a new episode.
Andrew Knapp reported this week that lawyers for Matt and Melanie Capobianco — the adoptive parents of Baby V — are asking the child’s birth father and the Cherokee Nation to pay more than $1 million in legal fees accrued during the nasty custody battle.
The Internet immediately blew up with vitriol aimed at the Capobiancos: They are money-grubbers, out to get rich, trying to profit from tragedy.
And why would folks feel that way?
It might be because so many people have made this very personal family issue into their own reality show. Just like the Zimmerman circus. Or Casey Anthony, whoever that is. It all goes back to O.J. Some news stories become a little too much like “The Jersey Shore.”
So perhaps it’s completely normal for “viewers” to figure the players are all just as sleazy as the people on most of “reality” TV.
Trouble is, this is not a drama playing out for our entertainment.
And, more importantly, the Capobiancos aren’t asking for a dime. The attorneys who represented them for “free” are the ones asking for $1 million.
Free legal fees?
Everybody hates lawyers.
And why not? It’s fun.
You know what you call 500 lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean?
A good start.
That never gets old. But perhaps some of the people beating up the Capobiancos right now need an attorney to read the fine print. This money is not for Matt and Melanie. They didn’t ask for this cash, and may not have known the motion was even filed.
See, there’s this law that allows attorneys who are successful in custody cases to recoup expenses from the other side. Lori Alvino McGill, one of the couple’s attorneys, told Knapp that this is simply “a motion to recover fees and costs to which the lawyers are entitled by statute.”
Even though the attorneys represented the Capobiancos “pro bono,” they decided to ask the court to make the other side pay their expenses.
Basically, it’s a legal thing — and they might not even do it if the Cherokee Nation wasn’t involved.
Everyone believes the Cherokees have the money to pay up because they have casinos. Everyone knows Dusten Brown — Baby V’s biological father — doesn’t have that kind of scratch.
The attorneys — again, not the Capobiancos — say they are asking for expenses because for seven weeks the Cherokees helped Brown defy a court order to turn over Baby Veronica.
And that cost them a lot of money.
Imagine that — the Cherokees not respectful of a U.S. court order. Maybe that’s because 175 years ago this country violated its own Supreme Court order, took their land and sent them packing.
The casinos, folks, are not much of a consolation prize.
Bottom line, this latest episode of Baby V TV has nothing much to do with the custody battle, who was right or who was wrong. Everybody has an opinion, and this latest twist shouldn’t have much to do with that.
Actually, it wouldn’t be any of our business except that both sides pleaded their cases to the media — and the audience — when it suited their needs. So they kind of asked for this.
But the Capobiancos or Brown don’t deserve blame for fee-gate. The show’s over. Move along. Nothing to see here — only the sharks coming in to feed on the scraps.
And that’s not entertainment, that’s just nature.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org