Buzz Aldrin's family, lawyers play blame game in ongoing legal dispute
Andy, Jan Aldrin say their father is surrounded by 'opportunistic agents'
ORLANDO, Fla. – Two groups each say they have Buzz Aldrin's best interests in mind, but they also say he is being taken advantage of. The question, is by who?
Both Aldrin's attorney, who filed a lawsuit on the astronaut's behalf against his family this month, and his two youngest children say the other party is using one of America's greatest heroes for their benefit.
Aldrin's Gainesville-based attorney, Robert Bauer, filed the civil suit on June 7 in Brevard County Circuit Court, accusing Andy and Jan Aldrin, Aldrin's former assistant Christina Korp and the entities using the astronaut's name of fraud. Aldrin also accuses his family of trying to defame him by saying he has dementia and preventing him from marrying or having relationships.
Korp, who was Aldrin's manager for at least 10 years, posted a statement on Twitter late Monday blaming people who she says began to "exert undue influence" on Aldrin, adding that they drove a wedge between Buzz, his children and herself.
The lawsuit against the moon-walker's family was filed more than a week after Andy and Jan Aldrin filed a guardianship petition citing their father's "cognitive decline." They also petitioned to keep those court documents confidential.
Bauer told News 6 Andy and Jan Aldrin wanted to keep the guardianship petition private for their own benefit.
On Tuesday, the siblings accused Bauer and the people behind the newly created Buzz Aldrin Ventures of "elder exploitation" and of taking the court proceedings public as "part of a public spectacle designed to stir undue sympathy and support for the ridiculous lawsuit."
Members of the family also said they can prove that the allegations in the lawsuit "are products of the increased confusion and memory loss that Dad has demonstrated in recent years."
"We will not allow opportunistic agents who see an opportunity to grab the spotlight break our family apart," Andy and Jan Aldrin said in their statement.
Aldrin underwent one of three competency tests on Tuesday ordered by a Florida circuit judge as part of the guardianship petition.
Bauer said he has no doubt that when the former astronaut undergoes the tests with three court-approved doctors this week in Florida, they will determine he is in fine health for an octogenarian.
In April, Aldrin underwent his own evaluation conducted by a UCLA psychiatrist, who concluded Aldrin was capable of managing his own finances and health, according to his attorney.
Aldrin himself told ABC News on Tuesday he feels "younger and more energetic" than ever in his life.
"He’s an American hero and he’s aware of it, but there is nothing wrong with his mind," Bauer said.
Aldrin's attorney says the Apollo 11 astronaut just wants to return to working on his ultimate goal of getting humans to Mars and that under his family's guidance he hasn't been able to work on projects most important to him.
The Aldrin siblings said they are committed to protecting their father, even if it means they have to prove their case in court.
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