That November, the FBI completed its review of the incident and said no charges would be filed. But in a countercomplaint Jolie filed Tuesday in an ongoing civil case regarding a French winery the couple once shared, Jolie has detailed her version of the events of the Sept. 14, 2016, flight from France to Los Angeles. The complaint, filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, says the alleged incident spurred Jolie to separate from Pitt, whom she married in 2014.
Pitt’s lawyers did not respond to emails from The Washington Post on Tuesday. A representative for Pitt declined to comment.
The cross-complaint claims that during the overnight flight to Los Angeles from their shared winery and home, Chateau Miraval, Pitt became “physically and emotionally abusive to Jolie and their children.” Pitt and Jolie have six children, though it’s unclear how many were on the flight.
The filing claims that after the flight took off, Jolie approached Pitt to ask why he had been upset earlier in the day. Pitt then accused her of being “too deferential” to their children, who were also on the flight, the new document says. About an hour and a half later, according to the cross-complaint, Pitt demanded that Jolie come to the back of the plane with him, where he pulled her into the bathroom and began yelling at her.
“Pitt grabbed Jolie by the head and shook her, and then grabbed her shoulders and shook her again before pushing her into the bathroom wall,” the filing states.
It further claims that Jolie left the bathroom after Pitt punched the ceiling of the plane several times. When one of the children asked if Jolie was all right, Pitt yelled back, “No, mommy’s not ok,” while also lobbing insults at Jolie, according to the cross-complaint.
One of the children also verbally defended Jolie, prompting Pitt to lunge at the child, the filing alleges. When Jolie tried to grab Pitt from behind to stop him, Pitt “threw himself” backward toward the airplane’s seats, which injured Jolie’s back and elbow, she alleges in the document.
“The children rushed in and all bravely tried to protect each other,” the cross-complaint states, adding: “Before it was over, Pitt choked one of the children and struck another in the face. Some of the children pleaded with Pitt to stop.”
“They were all frightened,” the complaint adds. “Many were crying.”
Jolie and the children then “sat still and silent under blankets” as Pitt remained in the back of the plane, emerging only to “yell and swear” at Jolie and the children, Jolie alleges.
“At one point, he poured beer on Jolie; at another, he poured beer and red wine on the children,” the filing states.
Once the plane landed and Jolie told Pitt that she was going to stay with the children at a hotel, Pitt pushed Jolie and screamed that no one was getting off the plane, according to the new document, which states that Pitt stopped the family from getting off for about 20 minutes. The cross-complaint states that, after the family exited the plane, Pitt again physically harmed Jolie and one of the children before Jolie and the children left.
The filing says that the day of the flight was when “Jolie’s marriage came to an end.”
Five days later, Jolie filed for divorce, the document states. It further claims the FBI agent who investigated the alleged incident “concluded that the government had probable cause to charge Pitt with a federal crime for his conduct that day.”
The FBI investigated because it has jurisdiction over flights. Both the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles declined to comment.
When the FBI announced that no charges would be filed, it gave no reasoning but said that its agents would have consulted with the U.S. attorney’s office before making a determination.
The filing Tuesday is only the latest legal salvo in the acrimonious separation of the couple once referred to as “Brangelina.” The cross-complaint comes in response to a lawsuit Pitt filed that alleges Jolie improperly sold her stake in Chateau Miraval, which the complaint says the couple bought in 2008, to a subsidiary of the Stoli Group, the spirits company. Jolie counters that she was well within her rights to make the sale. The filing states that Stoli paid her $67 million.
The cross-complaint claims Jolie first tried to sell her stake to Pitt, but he conditioned a deal on her signing a “non-disparagement clause that would have prohibited her from speaking outside of court about Pitt’s physical and emotional abuse of Jolie and their children.”
It adds that Pitt’s legal action against Jolie over the sale of her stake had forced her to disclose her recollections of the flight.
“Jolie has never before publicly explained why she and Pitt reached this point — why they divorced, why she and the children have been unable to return to Chateau Miraval, why she had to sell her interest in Chateau Miraval — and she has gone to great lengths to try to shield their children from reliving the pain Pitt inflicted on the family that day,” the document says.