Prominent civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom says it's "critical" the court appoints an independent lawyer to represent baby Lucia, after a shocking photo emerged of the infant with an apparent small abrasion on her chin.
Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of the eight-month-old baby girl, has told law enforcement officials that Lucia's father, Oscar-winning star Mel Gibson, caused the injury during a brutal brawl on January 6 at the actor's home in Malibu, California.
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"The baby does need to have her own attorney," Bloom told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive video interview.
"In many cases where child abuse is alleged, the court will appoint an attorney to look out for the best interest of the child."
A judge overseeing Mel and Oksana's bitter child custody battle has not yet made that move.
The photo is in the police evidence brief and forms a crucial part of Oksana's declaration to the court and the child protective services investigation, RadarOnline.com has learned.
Oksana is using the image to plead with authorities to strip Mel of his custodial rights.
Bloom, who once filed suit against the Catholic Church in a child abuse case, said Lucia's safety could only be ensured with her own independent counsel, because mother and father are clearly locked in a dispute about what happened during the altercation at Mel's Malibu mansion.
"Each of them is going to say they're looking out for the best interest of the child, but the court should appoint an independent attorney, who's not accountable to the mother or not accountable to the father," she said.
"(The lawyer) is accountable only to the court to look out for the best interest of the child, to protect that child from future harm, to make sure that she has financial resources in the future if this couple splits up, as clearly they are, to look out solely for her interests.
"I think that is critical at this point."