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Mel Gibson’s Lawyer Changes Judge

Apr. 17 2009, Updated 8:09 a.m. ET

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Mel Gibson’s lawyer, Bob Kaufman, has filed papers to oust the judge assigned to his client’s high-profile divorce from wife Robyn. The judge originally assigned to the case was Rafael Ongkeko. Ongkeko, who is of Filipino descent, is an active proponent of diversity in the courts and his community and was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2003.

Kaufman’s filing claimed that Gibson "cannot have a fair and impartial trial or hearing before Judge Ongkeko." No further details were included. Each side in the preceedings has the right to nix a judge in the case, but have only ten days to do so.

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Judge Frederick Shaller is now on the case RadarOnline has confirmed, but it’s almost certain that a high-stakes, celebrity divorce like this one will be heard by a private judge—behind closed doors—in the end.

(Photo: Retna)

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