Jury trial begins in Deion, Pilar Sanders' child custody case

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by MARCUS MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarcusMoorewfaa

WFAA

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 5 at 7:30 PM

McKINNEY –– Deion and Pilar Sanders returned to a Collin County Courtroom Tuesday morning to fight for custody of their three children.

Both spoke to reporters as they entered the courtroom separately Tuesday. 

“I believe a child needs both parents," Pilar said.  "I’ve never withheld any of my children from having time with their father, I encourage it all the time, so it won’t be another win, really." 

The two have been in a legal battle since 2011 when Deion filed for divorce. The jury trial that began Tuesday is meant to determine which home will be the children's primary address. It is separate from the overall divorce proceedings.

On Monday, a judge ordered Sanders to pay for Pilar's legal expenses, which, according to her attorneys, Deion has not done. 

When asked why he hasn't paid, Sanders said his wife signed a prenuptial agreement before they married. He called the trial one last effort on her part to gain custody of his children and access to his money.

“[Attorneys] They’ve exhausted her to the end and she’s not smart enough to see it," Deion Sanders said. "So she’s walking out of here empty handed, when the determination is so the fight for the kids— it’s not about the kids, it’s about the money!” 

Tuesday's court proceeding started with opening arguments. Deion Sanders' attorney Rick Robertson attempted to show the jury that his client has been a dedicated father despite Pilar's claims. 

"You will find that he spent more time with the children than Pilar did," Robertson told the jury. 

Pilar's attorney, Luke Gunnstacks, began by laying out the case of a father who was rarely home and only concerned about promoting himself.

"Evidence will prove that he has manipulated the children to get what he wants," Gunnstacks said.

Deion sobbed on the witness stand after the jury saw a video of his Hall of Fame induction speech. Sanders said it was supposed to be one of the proudest moments of his life, but was marred by his wife fighting with his family in the stands. 

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com 

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