The plot thickened this week in the bizarre lawsuit between Stephen Baldwin and Kevin Costner, as the two duke it out in a New Orleans courtroom over a mysterious invention developed on the set of Waterworld.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported a witness testifying on behalf of Costner claimed that Baldwin threatened to leak personal information about the Dances with Wolves star to The New York Times if the actors couldn't resolve a $21 million business dispute involving a business venture with BP after the company's 2010 Gulf oil spill.
In light of the 2006 scandal in which Costner performed a one-man sex act in front of an unsuspecting hotel masseuse, Baldwin surely had some great material to share. Witness Scott Smith, however, was unsure whether the actor followed though with the alleged threat.
"The way some people like musicians, I like engineers and scientists," Costner told the courtroom. "I'm not just a celebrity . . . I probably know more about oil spills than almost anyone in the world."
Scott hired Baldwin as a spokesperson for his company Opflex, which manufactured a special oil-absorbing foam for BP. He told the jury he was shocked by the actor's claim.
"I said, 'Stephen, that's blackmail,'" he told the jury, remembering that Baldwin said, "I have to be careful how I do it."
In December 2010, Baldwin and friend Spyridon Contogouris filed a lawsuit claiming that Costner duped the men into selling shares in a company called Ocean Therapies Solutions, which marketed the Waterworld device in which Costner was an investor. The men suspect the Academy Award-winning actor knew of the company's upcoming multi-million agreement with BP and convinced them to leave the venture as a means to reap higher profits.
Last Thursday, Costner took to the stand for an hour-long testimony in which he detailed his longstanding interest in oil spill technology.
"I'm not just a celebrity," he said. "I probably know more about oil spills than almost anyone in the world."
He told the jury he secured a patent for the oil-separating machine at the center of the case and asked the inventor to join him in a company to bring the technology into widespread use.
"The way some people like musicians, I like engineers and scientists," he told the courtroom.