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Kevin Costner and Stephen Baldwin Star in Real-Life Legal Battle

Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- Kevin Costner and Stephen Baldwin were in a New Orleans’ courtroom Monday for the opening of a civil trial on Baldwin’s claim Costner cheated him and a friend out of millions of dollars in connection with investments in an oil separating device that was used to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 BP oil spill.

Baldwin and his friend, Spyridon Contogouris, invested in Costner’s company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, and claim in a lawsuit the Hatfields and McCoys actor and his business partner, Patrick Smith, duped them out of millions of dollars because they didn’t know the company had made a multi-million dollar deal with BP before they sold all their shares.

The lawsuit states BP agreed to make an $18 million dollar deposit on a $52 million deal to buy 32 oil-separating centrifuges from the company.  Baldwin and Contogouris are seeking a portion of BP’s deposit, along with $21 million in damages.

Costner’s attorney, Wayne Lee, says his client played no role in Baldwin and Contogouris’ decision to sell their shares.

Costner and the other defendants in the lawsuit have countersued.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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