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Grandparents in child kidnap case sue ex-son-in-law, alleging fraud

February 14, 2019

Brazilian grandparents, sentenced to federal prison for helping kidnap their grandson, sued their ex-son-in-law this week, alleging that he defrauded the court in the trial that led to their convictions.

Carlos and Jemima Guimaraes were sentenced in December for their role in the kidnapping of their grandson, Nicolas Brann, now 9 and living in Brazil with his mother. The boy’s father, Christopher Brann, shared joint custody with his ex-wife, Marcelle Guimares.

At a news conference Thursday morning, the Guimaraes’ lawyer, Jeff Diamant, said Brann had twisted the narrative of his marriage to their daughter, portraying himself as the victim of domestic violence.

“This lawsuit is all about the fact that (Brann) built this house of cards on fundamental lies,” Diamant said. “His behavior and conduct in the marriage was nothing short of sociopathic.”

Read more: Judge orders light sentences for Brazilian grandparents in kidnap case

Brann’s attorney, Alan Daughtry, called the lawsuit “frivolous” and “further harrassment” of Brann, a physician. He said Brann intends to file a motion to dismiss the suit.

“(The) claim of ‘fraud on the court’ has already been rejected, as Dr. Brann has prevailed on the merits before a federal jury, a federal judge, a Texas trial court judge, and the First Court of Appeals,” Daughtry wrote in a statement Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in state district court in Harris County, alleges that Brann enganged in patterns of domestic violence and sexual and pornographic addiction. It includes diary entries, emails and voicemails sent to Marcelle and excerpts from his testimony from court in Brazil — where Marcelle relocated with Nicolas.

“She did this as a mother to protect her child,” Diamant said.

The Guimaraes’ case garnered international media attention, in part because Brann advocated for courts, legislators and diplomats in two countries to intervene and testified at hearings on Capitol Hill.

The protracted conflict began when Marcelle Guimaraes took Nicolas, then 3, to a family wedding in Brazil in July 2013 and never returned.

In 2017, Marcelle Guimaraes and her parents were charged under seal, and the grandparents were arrested when their plane touched down in Miami.

The Guimaraeses, a businessman and a primary school director, were convicted in May 2018. The case was one of only 53 international parental abduction prosecutions brought by the Justice Department and the first conviction the U.S. Sentencing Commission could document involving noncustodial grandparents, U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett said in their December trial.

Carlos Guimaraes was sentenced to three months in federal prison. Jemima Guimares was sentenced to one month in a federal facility. After their time in custody, both defendants must serve one year of supervised release.

Marcelle Guimares, living with Nicolas in the Brazilian city of Salvador, is considered a fugitive by the U.S. government.

massarah.mikati@chron.com