Actors Costner, Baldwin go to trial over business deal

Mon Jun 4, 2012 3:47pm EDT

A combination photo shows actor Stephen Baldwin (L) at the premiere of the film ''Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol'' in New York in a December 19, 2011 file photo and actor Kevin Costner at the premiere of television series ''Hatfields and McCoys'' at Milk Studios in Los Angeles, California, in a May 21, 2012 file photo. The two actors are expected to appear in court on June 4, 2012 in New Orleans as jury selection begins in Baldwin's federal lawsuit against Costner over investments in a device used by BP to help clean up the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, according to news reports. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (L) and Bret Hartman/Files

A combination photo shows actor Stephen Baldwin (L) at the premiere of the film ''Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol'' in New York in a December 19, 2011 file photo and actor Kevin Costner at the premiere of television series ''Hatfields and McCoys'' at Milk Studios in Los Angeles, California, in a May 21, 2012 file photo. The two actors are expected to appear in court on June 4, 2012 in New Orleans as jury selection begins in Baldwin's federal lawsuit against Costner over investments in a device used by BP to help clean up the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, according to news reports.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri (L) and Bret Hartman/Files

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(Reuters) - Actors Kevin Costner and Stephen Baldwin opened a real-life legal drama on Monday as jury selection began in a trial over Baldwin's claims that Costner cheated him out of his share of a multi-million dollar deal to sell oil extractors to British Petroleum in 2010.

Jury selection began in a New Orleans court for a federal lawsuit lodged against Costner by Baldwin and business partner, Spyridon C. Contogouris.

The suit alleges that Costner, best known for his performance in "Field of Dreams" and "The Bodyguard," cheated Baldwin and Contogouris out of their share of a multi-million dollar deal under which BP bought 32 oil and water separation devices that were developed by a Costner-owned company.

The deal was struck after the Macondo well blew out in April 2010, spewing more than 4 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico in the largest accidental oil spill in history.

According to the suit, Baldwin and Contogouris claim they were not told about the deal with BP before they agreed to sell their shares in a company that had been set up to market Costner's extraction devices. As a result, they charge they were duped out of a portion of an $18 million deposit from BP for the devices.

Both actors were expected to appear in court every day of the trial.

(Reporting By Lily Kuo; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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