April 23rd, 2009
10:22 AM ET
12 years ago

Levi Johnston: I have a lawyer

(CNN) – Teen father Levi Johnston dropped a bombshell into the middle of the escalating family feud between Johnston’s family and the family of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose eldest daughter is the mother of Johnston’s infant son.

In an interview with CNN’s Larry King, Johnston, his mother, and his sister acknowledged that they have a lawyer and are contemplating taking legal action to protect Johnston’s parental rights.

“That is what we’re going to have to do next,” Johnston’s mother, Sherry, said Wednesday on Larry King Live. “We were just hoping that we wouldn’t have to,” Sherry Johnston also said.

But “that is the step we’re going to have to go,” Johnston’s mother said later in the interview.

The teen father said that he and Bristol Palin, Gov’s Palin’s daughter, do not have a formal custody agreement regarding Tripp, their 4-month old son.

While the young father and his mother at times appeared hesitant about the prospect of taking formal legal action, Mercede Johnston, Levi Johnston’s younger sister, seemed anxious to get the brewing custody battle in front a judge.

“I hope it happens soon, to be honest” Mercede Johnston said. “I want that baby in my life just as much as he does.”

Levi Johnston also told King that he is not paying any child support to Bristol Palin right now. “I got everything my boy needs back home – diapers, toys, everything. Once we go to court, we’ll deal with that.”

The Palins did not appear on King’s show Wednesday night. “To be fair here, we have not heard from the Palins on this,” King said. “If they wish to contact us, we’ll, of course, give equal time,” the CNN anchor added.

Gov. Palin revealed that her unmarried daughter was pregnant soon after being named as the running mate of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain. Levi Johnston joined the Palin family at the Republican National Convention.

The two teenagers had plans to marry but their relationship ended after the birth of their son.

Johnston and his family told King that Johnston is permitted to visit with his son at the Palin home but is not permitted to take the child away from the home.

soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Chris in MI

    This kid needs to get off of the airwaves, get his GED, a job and start paying child support. I'm no fan of Sarah Palin either, but he needs to start behaving like a father. And who's paying for all of the airfare and hotels for these little trips to the lower 48. And if he IS getting paid in any way...anty up and pay for your kid.

    April 23, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. Makes Me CrAZY

    Can anyone tell me why it is the Plains are being attacked on here. Yes, Sarah Plain introduced Levi into the public spotlight, however, I am sure he was a willing participant, afterall he is 18, and he has parents that could have told the Palins.............NO!

    I dont see the Palins on Larry King Live, The Today Show, Trya (I NEED RATINGS) Banks, so why are they being attacked verablly. As I see it (IMO) the Johnstons are trying to cash in their 15 Minutes of fame, and who of you out there would send their newborns to a home where Sherry Johnston deals drugs, well maybe we need to have Child Protective Services investigatge you.

    I agree Levi has the right to see his son, in a safe environment, not in the home of his drug dealing mother, and wildcat sister. There are three people involved in this situation, that being Levi, Bristol and Tripp. No Levi, Merecede (HO), and Sherry Johnston, I wonder if Sherry and Merecede realizes how incredibly STUPID and IGNORANT they appear to the rest of the world.

    GROW UP LEVI, quit airing your dirty laundry on National TV, if you love your son, you are doing nothing but hurting him by bad mouthing his mother. I have not seen anywhere in the media that the Palins have bad mouthed you, your stupid sister, or your drug dealing mommy. Grow up, quit acting like a MORON, and start paying for your baby!

    April 23, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. GRM

    I don't know what's worse, Palin's hypocrisy or Levi and his family's grab for media attention. What a bunch of low class sorry losers they all are.

    April 23, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. Me

    Scott April 23rd, 2009 9:53 am ET

    This is great. Palin in a tit-for-tat with a high school dropout.
    I think they are equally matched....same IQ, same Jerry Springer image...I like it! Although, I give Levi the one-up on SP...he's an 18 year old idiot. But, SP is a 45 year old idiot – at least Levi has a chance to mature – Palin's a lost cause!

    April 23, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Okay, I'm caught up in the drama, I admit it. Can someone please explain to me the deal with his mother? I mean, wasn't she ARRESTED for manufacturing/distributing ILLEGAL drugs? So is this the person I'd want babysitting my child? I mean, come on, what if the cops busted her again...? Just wondering.

    Forget my first post asking if he had a job. It just dawned on me that he spends too much time on T.V. to have one.

    April 23, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. Fantastic

    I guess this is the "family values" and "moral superiority" that Palin and the rest of the extreme-right GOP was talking about. HA!!! I LOVE seeing this stuff considering all these hypocrites said about the Obama administration during the campaign.

    April 23, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |

    I feel bad for Levi. He's the little guy fighting the big guys. Before Palin was a vice presidential candidate he was just a guy who got his girlfriend pregnant – like to many others. Once Sarah hit the big stage SP dragged her entire family, as well as Levi, onto that stage making all these private matters public. Attempts at fame change people. He should be able to spend time alone with his son. The child is a little young to be away from his mother for an entire weekend but a full day would not be out of line. Are the Johnson's handling everything correctly, probably not, but they don't have the same kind of access the Palin family does. Now that he is not needed as a Sarah Palin prop, he's being tossed aside. Furthermore, why has SP gotten involved in this issue anyway. It's like David and Goliath.

    April 23, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Booger

    I can't blame the Palin's for wanting the baby to remain away from Levi's home. His mother has drug charges pending.

    April 23, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. Mike

    The father is allowed to visit the child at the Palin home but not take the child elsewhere? PUHLEEZE! The Johnson's definitely should have a lawyer to make sure they're not railroaded.

    April 23, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Bev - NYC

    Unless the Palins can prove that the child is in danger when he's with his father, they hacve no right to deny him visitation. They should be lucky that he wants to be involved in his child's life, instead they are using this innocent baby as a punishment tool. Bristol has as much blame in this situation, if she is old enough to do grown-up activities and bring a child into the world she should be grown up enough to realize that it's no longer about her, Levi, and mommy Sarah, it's about the baby's wants and needs.

    April 23, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. eileen

    Levi needs to not take the advice of his drug using mother and his big mouth sister. If anyone is in it for the publicity it's those two. He was "mature" enough to make this child, he needs to be mature enough to support him. Instead of traveling around the country hitting all the talk shows he should have his butt back in Alaska looking for a job!!! Unless of course Gov. Palin has barred the door to the state.

    April 23, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Jay

    At least the father is trying to be involved. Everyone knows eventually the courts in as nonbias way as possible will help with parental rights. Hopefully without the Gov Palin involved.

    April 23, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. Sniffit

    Looking at these comments really highlights why probate courts in our society show such an overwhelming and baseless bias towards granting custody to the mothers instead of shared custody. Kudos for the ignorance guys. Fact is, both the mom and the dad in this situation are "deadbeats" because neither of them can afford to support this kid financially. And face it, you'd be screaming bloody murder if Levi and his family were the ones who took the kid and pretended to have the right to dictate when, where and for how long Bristol was allowed to visit with him.

    April 23, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Tim

    Palin started this by putting this in the lime light on the campaign trail. She opened this pandoras box and now she cannot close it.

    April 23, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Cruzan Obama Mama

    Another thought. This kid is not being arrogant or suave about this. He seems so somber about this ordeal. He looks like he just wants to see his child and take an active role in his child's life. That should be commended.

    For those who are calling him a deadbeat.....PLEASE BE REALISTIC. We are talking about a teenager. How many teenagers do you know can afford child support? Just because you want to defend Palin does not mean you have to be an idiot about the situation.

    April 23, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Robin

    To: dominican mama 4 Obama April 23rd, 2009 11:20 am ET

    At least we both agree Levi's mother is the last person who should be babysitting! 😉

    April 23, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. L

    Why WOULD the Palins want him around the kid? Obviously all he wants is publicity from all of this. That's why he's parading around to all the different magazines, tv shows, and what not.

    April 23, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. dona

    He was good enough to parade in front of the nation. Why is he not good enough now to see his child? Oh I forgot, Palin rules are different in her world.

    April 23, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Ron in Indiana

    I was in support of this man at first but he lost me when he said he was not paying any type of support. How can he be taken seriously when he isnt contributing to the welfare of his child?

    Support does not need to wait until a judge tells you to pay it.

    He needs to begin sending a set amount each week in the form of a check, $80-$100. This will help him out more than anything else in the long run.

    April 23, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. Thomas

    Good luck in family court . Just be grateful you didn't get married to the mother of the mother of your child !
    Be the best father you can be.

    April 23, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Ruth

    His younger sister...are you kidding me. she can't be more than 16 of course she wants to take this to court. She probably thinks it would be cool.

    April 23, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |

    Levi should absolutely seek out a lawyer. The Palins have no right to keep him from his son. I can see the Palins being totally inflexible and they are nothing but lairs. Palin used this young man for the campaign and when things didn't work out, so long. Lawyered UP Levi and stand up for your rights.

    April 23, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Moderate Democrat

    It is sad and pathetic that the Palins would deny a child their father, and deny a father the natural right to privately visit with their child.

    Sarah Palin and her family are sadistic freaks of nature with no moral values. Let fathers be a father, stop keeping this mans baby from him!

    April 23, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. Jenny in Atlanta

    While it makes sense that the Palins wouldn't want Tripp to visit Levi's home where his mother has drug charges pending, it doesn't actually give them the right to limit his visitation rights.

    At least this kid wants to be involved in his baby's life. I'm sure there are plenty of teenage fathers out there who would take advantage of this situation and use it as an opportunity to run away.

    April 23, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Josephine

    Levi has both equal rights and equal responsibilities as a parent. He should seek legal counsel regarding his rights and also be prepared to abide by the letter of the law when it comes to his responsibilities. Ideally, this child should have the benefit of knowing and spending quality time with both parents.

    Everyone in this situation needs to get on the high road and stay there, for the sake of that child and for the sake of their own dignity.

    April 23, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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