The last we checked with former Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford, 46, her custody case was dismissed at the federal level. Rutherford’s children, Hermes, 8, and Helena, 5, live with their father, a German citizen, in Monaco. A judge gave Rutherford and her ex husband, Daniel Giersch, 50/50 custody in 2012 but ordered that the children could live with Giersch overseas after his US visa was revoked. Rutherford is thought to have been responsible for Giersch’s visa being revoked, which she denies despite the fact that her lawyer personally called the State Department to tip them off. Giersch has not yet applied for another visa after he was ordered to do by the California court. In the ruling dismissing this case, the federal court ruled that “the children have not been deported” and that “it would plainly be improper for the federal courts to assume jurisdiction over the case.”
Legal experts thought that Rutherford might continue to fight for her children by appealing her case at the state level. As far as I’ve heard that hasn’t happened yet, but Kelly has started a White House petition urging the return of her children. In a statement to People Magazine, her lawyer called this “a political problem for President Obama and a constitutional problem for the courts.” I’m sure Obama will get right on that. Here is some of People’s report on this story:
The actress created an online White House petition Tuesday asking for a federal order to bring her two children back to the United States.
“This is a political problem for President Obama and a constitutional problem for the courts,” her attorney, Wendy Murphy, tells PEOPLE. “The president recently issued an executive order declaring that children born in this country to illegal immigrant parents must be allowed to remain in this country. Mr. Obama specifically talked about the importance of mothers and children being allowed to stay together in America. How could Kelly and her children not be entitled to at least the same legal protections?
“The petition exposes an important and very embarrassing situation for Mr. Obama,” Murphy says, “because if Kelly’s children are not rescued from involuntary expatriation to France, it would mean the President believes non-citizens are entitled to greater rights than citizens in this country.
“The federal court in New York that is currently reviewing this case has acknowledged this is an unprecedented situation, which means a ruling against Kelly’s children would put countless defenseless American children at risk for being shipped like luggage to live in a foreign country where they have no citizenship, and no rights as Americans.”
“I remember when she made the ruling, I just thought, ‘There’s something wrong here,” the former Gossip Girl star told PEOPLE earlier this month. “Not because of their father and I or anything – I’ve always wanted my kids to have a relationship with him, and I’ve really only encouraged that all along. When I went into court, I never asked for money, and I never asked for full custody. I just wanted what was right for them and their well-being moving forward.”
The statement from Kelly’s lawyer reads like one of those “Thanks Obama” rants and not the funny/ironic ones. I don’t think this case has anything to do with Obama’s executive actions on immigration last year. He was trying to ensure that children born in the US to parents of illegal immigrants weren’t separated from their families by deportation of the parents. Rutherford’s children were separated from her by a custody judge, essentially, but she is able to visit them frequently throughout the year and they stay with her every summer. As the federal court stated in their ruling, the children remain US citizens and have not been deported.
Kelly’s White House petition, which currently has about 8,000 signatures and needs nearly 92,000 more, is kind of sad, though. I felt bad for her after reading it, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s accurate or that she should get her kids back. Here’s the text of her petition:
The undersigned hereby implore the Obama administration to return Kelly Rutherford’s children safely to the U.S.A.
At ages 2 and 5, Kelly Rutherford’s children were forced by a California judge to live in France with their German father, (nobody is French) after he claimed his U.S. visa was revoked, and he could not enter the U.S. The children’s appointed counsel said they should remain in the U.S., but the judge sent the children to France, solely because the father claimed he could not return to the U.S., even though NO evidence has been produced from any American official stating that the father was EVER denied entry into the U.S., and the father refused to request a visa. Instead, he filed court papers in Monaco, causing the children to be declared “habitual residents” subject solely to Monaco law. The father also recently filed papers seeking to strip Kelly of all parental rights.
That parenthetical statement, “nobody is French,” seemed out of place to me. This reads like Rutherford wrote it after a few Pinot Noirs. Notice that Rutherford’s side is not denying that Giersch’s visa was revoked, this has been established and it’s known that she’s the one who arranged this. (Or, at the very least, her lawyer did it without her knowledge, which belies belief.) They’re stating that there’s no evidence that Giersch could not return to the US and that he hasn’t tried. Yes I think it’s shady that he hasn’t applied for another visa and it does seem vindictive that he’s trying to strip Kelly of parental rights. (If that is even true.) However, judging from what she’s said in public I imagine that it must be worse behind the scenes. It’s telling that he’s barely commented on this case while she’s been all over the press.