She's fighting with Peter Cook over whether their upcoming divorce trial should be public

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Updated June 20, 2008 01:30 PM

Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook’s bitter split escalated Thursday when the two squared off in a Long Island courtroom over whether to keep their upcoming divorce trial open to the public.

Brinkley’s lawyers requested to keep the courtroom open for the trial while Cook’s lawyers argued to keep the bulk of the proceedings closed. The law guardian for the children, Theresa Mari, petitioned the judge to close part of the trial to protect Jack, 12, and Sailor, 9.

The trial, set to begin July 2, is expected to be explosive, with reports surfacing that Brinkley’s side may reveal Cook’s alleged interest in Internet porn and swinger sites. Divorce trials in New York State are open to the public unless a judge decides to close them.

Brinkley’s lawyer, Robert Stephan Cohen, told PEOPLE they are arguing to keep the trial open because it would ensure that the whole truth comes to light.

“So much of what’s out there is based in rumors and innuendos. The truth will come out and the way to do it is a public trial.”

Cook’s lawyer, Norman Sheresky, countered to PEOPLE, “I don’t think there is a good parent in the world – not one – who would want allegations of adultery in a bitter divorce trial to be made public. I think it’s payback time for her and her desire for revenge far exceeds her desire to protect the children. It’s a disgrace.”

When asked about concerns that an open trial could damage their children Cohen responded to PEOPLE, “It’s going to be out there no matter what, so what’s out there should be the truth. The unfiltered truth.”

Cohen also told PEOPLE why Cook might want to keep the trial closed. “It’s a huge embarrassment to him the way he conducted himself when he was with Christie and the kids.”

Sheresky argued that the “only reason” Cook wants to keep the trial closed is to protect the kids. “No parent in the world who cares for his or her children wants an ugly divorce case to be aired in public … I think she will throw out whatever she thinks will hurt Peter (in court) whether or not it hurts her children.”

Asked about her kids on the way out of court Brinkley smiled and told reporters, “They’re doing fine. Thanks for asking.”

She also said, “I’d always hoped to settle these matters privately outside of the courtroom and I continue to hope that will be the case.”

Cook told reporters, “We’re just waiting for a very smart judge to make a decision.”

Judge Mark D. Cohen may decide as early as today whether to keep the trial open to the public.