Costner’s attorney Wayne Lee argued his client’s fame is the only reason he was sued. The plaintiffs were mistaken when they thought Costner would “roll over and give in” under the threat of a lawsuit, Lee said.
“This lawsuit never should have been brought,” Lee said. “Mr. Costner never should have been a party to these proceedings.”
Jurors heard eight days of testimony before they began deliberating. Costner and Baldwin were ordered by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to attend each day of the trial, which they heeded. The judge thanked them at the end of the trial.
“I know that being here throughout the trial has been a great challenge for them,” Feldman said.
Costner testified that he never saw Baldwin contribute anything to their company’s efforts to persuade BP to use the centrifuges. Baldwin testified that no one asked him to invest any capital or lobby BP but said he used his celebrity to market and promote the centrifuges while he also worked on a documentary about the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.
Costner had lost $20 million in an earlier effort to market the devices to the oil and gas industry, but Cobb said Costner and Smith each made $15 million off their investments in Ocean Therapy Solutions after the BP spill.
“They didn’t want to take a risk,” Lee said. “(Contogouris) is the one who brought up the idea of selling. He set the price.”
On Wednesday, a BP contractor testified that Baldwin had threatened to feed personal information about Costner to The New York Times if the two actors couldn’t resolve their business dispute. Scott Smith, CEO of a company that sold about $1 million worth of oil-absorbing foam to BP after the spill, said he doesn’t know if Baldwin followed through on the threat.
“They bring that to you, folks, because they’ve got nothing else,” he said. “They don’t have a legitimate defense, so let’s throw some mud on the plaintiffs.”
BP deployed a few of the centrifuges on a barge in June 2010. The company capped the well the following month, and it was permanently sealed in September 2010.