A custody trial between Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger over their 8-year-old daughter began on Monday after a Los Angeles judge threw reporters out of court at the request of the actors' lawyers.
In clearing his courtroom before the trial began, Superior Court Judge Roy Paul said he had to consider the possible harm news coverage could inflict on the girl, Ireland, as the pair battled over issues stemming from their 2002 divorce.
"We have an eight-year-old child who is the subject of this dispute," Paul said. "The detrimental effects to her outweigh the right of the public to be present."
Before ejecting about a half-dozen reporters and several members of the public, Paul said he would open doors again for portions of the trial that did not concern Ireland.
Basinger and Baldwin were both in court but sat at opposite ends of a long table, separated by three attorneys, and did not appear to speak or make eye contact during the brief time that reporters were allowed in court.
An attorney for Basinger, 50, began the court session by arguing that the entire trial should be conducted behind closed doors because "there's going to be a media frenzy and the person who is going to be most affected is Ireland."
Baldwin's lawyer, Vicki Greene, agreed and said much of the hearing would discuss confidential documents relating to the girl's welfare.
Basinger won an Academy Award for best supporting actress the 1997 film "L.A. Confidential." Baldwin, 45, is nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar this year for his role in "The Cooler."