FBI Records Shed New Light on Why Brad Pitt Wasn’t Charged in Alleged Jet Assault

AFI FEST 2015 Presented By Audi Opening Night Gala Premiere Of Universal Pictures' "By the Sea" - Arrivals - Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
AFI FEST 2015 Presented By Audi Opening Night Gala Premiere Of Universal Pictures' "By the Sea" - Arrivals - Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Dramatic new details about the mid-air meltdown that ended Brad Pitt’s marriage to Angelina Jolie – but did not lead to criminal charges – are coming to light in newly surfaced FBI investigative records obtained Tuesday by Rolling Stone.

The records include an interview summary in which Jolie purportedly told FBI officials that Pitt yelled at her, “grabbed her by her head,” shook her, “pushed her into the bathroom wall” and repeatedly punched the ceiling of the plane during an initial outburst about 90 minutes into the private jet flight that departed France and made a pitstop in Minnesota before eventually landing in Los Angeles on Sept. 14, 2016.

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Jolie said Pitt’s actions frightened the couple’s six children, who ranged in age from 8 to 15 at the time. When one of the kids allegedly called Pitt a “prick,” he bolted at the minor “like he was going to attack,” the paperwork states. At that point, Jolie “jumped up” and grabbed Pitt round his neck with her arms, “like in a choke hold,” according to the report summarizing Jolie’s version of events. Pitt purportedly threw himself back, pushing Jolie into the seats behind them, causing injury to her back and elbow, she told investigators.

According to the highly redacted paperwork, Pitt allegedly consumed multiple alcoholic beverages during the flight and at one point “poured beer on (Jolie) and the blanket she was under.” When the plane landed, it also had $25,000 worth of damage from spilled red wine, Jolie claimed.

Jolie said Pitt’s alleged behavior “didn’t feel real” and left her feeling “scared” and “like a hostage.” She claimed Pitt pushed her again when she suggested taking the couple’s children to a hotel to get some much-needed sleep after landing. “You’re not taking my fucking kids,” Pitt allegedly yelled in response.

Jolie detailed her injuries to FBI investigators, including a “rug-burn type wound on her right hand.” When asked about an apparent “scratch” on Pitt, she replied that it could have been from her, “though she believed she had (him) in more of a chokehold,” the paperwork states.

The fact that both parties had apparent injuries likely complicated the charging decision for investigators. The files obtained by Rolling Stone also said that Jolie “was personally conflicted on whether or not to be supportive of charges.” At least, that’s what her lawyer expressed in a call with investigators in December 2016, weeks after prosecutors made their initial decision to decline charges.

“After reviewing the document, representative(s) of the United States Attorney’s Office discussed the merits of this investigation with the case agent. It was agreed by all parties that criminal charges in this case would not be pursued due to several factors,” the FBI case agent wrote in a report memorializing a Nov. 22, 2016, meeting.

“In response to allegations made following a flight within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States which landed in Los Angeles carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI has conducted a review of the circumstances and will not pursue further investigation,” Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s field office in Los Angeles, said in  Nov. 22, 2016 statement. “No charges have been filed in this matter.”

Jolie, 47, filed for divorce within days of the jet confrontation. She and Pitt, 58, were later declared legally single, but their custody arrangement remains in dispute.

The FBI files obtained by Rolling Stone were sent to Jolie’s lawyers years ago as the results of an earlier FOIA request. As her custody battle with Pitt continues, the Maleficent star is now suing the Justice Department as a Jane Doe plaintiff. She’s asking for a more thorough search of government records for non-exempt files related to the 2016 probe. Politico first speculated that Jolie was the anonymous plaintiff behind the March 2022 suit, and Puck confirmed the hunch Tuesday.

Reps for Jolie and Pitt did not respond to requests for comment from Rolling Stone.

A source close to Pitt previously told this reporter that the actor engaged in a verbal argument with his oldest son Maddox during the jet ride. “He certainly could have behaved better, but there was no physical abuse (of the teen),” the source said. Pitt told GQ in 2017 that he had been “boozing too much” and quit drinking after the incident.

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