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Lawyer for Brazilians lashes out, contradicts himself

Chaos erupted outside the American consulate in Rio today when a traumatized Sean Goldman, 9, arrived with his Brazilian relatives and their lawyer to be turned over to his father. Reporters scrambled, cameramen elbowed, people shouted and traffic stopped.

Afterwards, many second-guessed the decision by the lawyer, Sergio Tostes, to have the family emerge from their cars and walk the final block to the consulate rather than driving in through one of the garage doors and allowing the child to avoid the tumult.

But one person didn’t so much second-guess the decision as deny that it was a decision at all: Tostes himself. At a press conference today, he said American officials had never offered the family access via a side door (in Portuguese, starting at 3:25 in the video, translation below):

“I just saw a statement by Ms. Orna Blum [spokeswoman for the United States Embassy], saying she had offered to let us to enter through the garage. I want to know to whom she made that offer. … Nobody in the family received that order. Let her prove she made that invitation. She’s going to have to tell me whom she spoke with because it did not come to my attention.”

By the end, he sounds furious. But here is what he told me last night during our interview for CBS, as he described (in English) how discussions with David Goldman’s lawyers broke down:

“Since [the grandmother] could not even accompany [Sean] to the airport in the same car, I said, ‘Deal broken.’ I will do exactly as I was determined by the court. We will take him to the consulate. They offered me to open a side garage, I said no, we are going to walk to the consulate. And that’s what we'll be doing tomorrow.”

He went on to explain why.

“...because it will be a media frenzy in the United States. We know very well [Sean] will be arriving there Christmas Day. That will be the firont page in papers in the U.S. and all over the world. We will have a farewell in front of everybody.”

Sounds like a pretty well thought-out plan to be so quickly forgotten.