Todd and Julie Chrisley aren’t going to back down after their adopted daughter’s biological mom said she wants to regain custody of the 10-year-old following their prison sentencing.
Todd and Julie — who were convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax fraud — adopted their granddaughter Chloe, the child of Todd’s estranged son Kyle and Angela Johnson, in 2016.
Earlier this week, Johnson spoke with TMZ about her plans to “go back to court and get Chloe back home.” She previously shared custody of Chloe with Todd for some months in 2016 prior to her arrest after Kyle lost custody.
“Todd and Julie are saddened by the unfortunate and misleading narrative currently being portrayed in the media regarding Chloe,” the couple says in a statement exclusively shared with PEOPLE.
Jessica Doyle, the family law attorney who Todd and Chrisley used during their adoption process for Chloe, exclusively tells PEOPLE that Johnson’s public statements are “simply not legally correct or even valid.”
“I handled the formal adoption of Chloe by Todd and Julie Chrisley. Angela Johnson’s parental rights were terminated when she voluntarily surrendered her parental rights to Todd and Julie Chrisley on March 24, 2017,” says Doyle. “She has had no contact with the minor child since 2015.”
“Todd and Julie Chrisley don’t just have custody of Chloe. They are her legal parents through adoption,” Doyle adds. “I have reviewed the public statements made by Angela Johnson. They are simply not legally correct or even valid.”
When speaking with TMZ about Chloe’s future in light of the Chrisleys’ sentence, which will see Todd, 53, serve a sentence of 12 years in prison and 16 months probation, while Julie, 49, will serve seven years in prison plus 16 months probation, Johnson noted she has yet to file any legal documents but is “in the process of getting some legal papers filed so I can go back to court and get Chloe back home.”
“In that timeframe that Chloe’s been gone, I was talking to attorneys and we were trying to figure out which way to go about getting Chloe back home,” she explained, referencing the Chrisley family’s move from Atlanta to Tennessee, while Johnson herself is based in South Carolina.
“But at the same time, it was kind of like we were at a standstill because we were trying to figure out where we would actually end up in court,” Johnson added.
During last week’s pre-recorded episode of the Unlocked podcast, Todd and Julie’s daughter Savannah Chrisley said that Chloe is fully aware of what’s happening.
“She listens. She listens more than you think,” Savannah said. “She’ll put on her headphones and act like she is listening to something when in reality nothing’s on.”
“So, you think she’s listening [to something else],” she added, to which Julie replied, “When really she’s just listening to the conversation.”
Added Savannah, “And so, all of the legal issues that we’ve had going on, she’s heard about, and she’s dealing with it in her own way.”