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Rusty Hardin Wins Jail Release of Grandparents Accused in International Child Custody Dispute

A couple accused of conspiring to kidnap their grandson so he could live with his mother in Brazil won release from a Houston jail after efforts by Rusty Hardin, one of the primary lawyers representing them in a high-stakes international child custody dispute.

The couple, Carlos and Jemima Guimaraes, were jailed after their arrest during a visit to the U.S. in early February. They are under federal indictment in Houston on charges of international parental kidnapping and conspiracy. Their grandson, Nico Brann, now 8, is still with his mother in Brazil. The boy’s father lives in Houston and wants him returned.

Mr. Hardin successfully argued that Mr. and Mrs. Guimaraes were not a flight risk. They were released after paying $1 million bond each, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“There are two different jurisdictions fighting this,” Mr. Hardin told CBS affiliate KHOU-TV. “Houston has found in favor of the father. That’s a family civil matter. That shouldn’t have anything to do with whether the 67-year-old couple without a single blight in their entire life is a bad risk to show up for trial, and they’re not.”

Arguing successfully that they should be granted bail, Mr. Hardin told The Associated Press, “It’s pretty self-evident (prosecutors) were incredibly overstating things that will not be supported by evidence in the trial.”

The case has received international coverage. A recent AP story, $3 million cash bond for Brazilian couple in kidnapping case, was carried by numerous news media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and Houston Chronicle. News media in Brazil also have followed the case.

Houston ABC affiliate KTRK-TV quoted Mr. Hardin as saying, “You folks have only heard one side of this thing. These people are not guilty of kidnapping.”

“Oh, this is incredibly difficult,” he told Fox26 News outside the courtroom. “We’re talking about two people, 67 years old, who have been in custody now for two weeks.”

Mr. Hardin and senior associate Jennifer E. Brevorka represent  the grandfather, Carlos Guimaraes, and Houston lawyer Jimmy Ardoin represents the grandmother, Jemima Guimaraes.