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Levi Johnston fights Bristol Palin to make custody battle public -- and wins

December 29, 2009 | 11:52 am

Levi First Levi Johnston bared his bod in Playgirl for the world to see. Now he wants to bare his custody battle with Bristol Palin for the world to see as well.

And two judges in Alaska have agreed that the fight over son Tripp is best played out in public, one of them ruling, according to the Anchorage Daily News, that Bristol hadn't offered any proof that the child would be harmed by the publicity.

~~ Apparently the judge has never moderated comments on the Internet? Where the public is super-duper gentle? ~~

Levi, in his affidavit, called Bristol's mom, former Gov. Sarah Palin, ambitious, powerful and vindictive. "I think a public case might go a long way in reducing Sarah Palin's instinct to attack," he wrote.

"I feel more comfortable in a public courtroom which will help everyone stay civil and be on their best behavior," he said in a statement.

Bristol -- who wanted a gag order and use of pseudonyms in court while she fights for sole custody, along with a visitation schedule for Levi, in a case filed Nov. 4 -- argued that privacy would be in the best interest of the child, and responded to Levi's assertions by saying none of what he said was true.

He said, she said -- in a custody fight? Shock! We're so glad these two never got married.

But ... 

Levi bristol ... people do seem to like to listen to Levi. It's true that an attorney for Bristol also personally represents her mom Sarah. And of course, Levi "grew up really fast" and "ain't walkin' away."

Bristol said the former VP candidate was not involved in the case "other than as a grandmother" and that Levi, whom she believes will soon be filming a reality TV show in Alaska, wanted things public "for his own self-promotion." 

Thomas Van Flein, a lawyer for of Bristol, pointed out that even routine celebrity custody battles typically protect the privacy of the child. He cited the Britney Spears-Kevin Federline and Alec Baldwin-Kim Basinger cases. 

Levi's lawyer, meanwhile, wrote that his client "feels Sarah Palin, through her lawyer, under the guise of Bristol Palin's name, would run roughshod over his very bones."

Gotta protect those bones, kiddo. Depending on what comes to light, an open proceeding could prove embarrassing for everyone involved.

Yeah, nothing like the public spotlight to keep people on their best behavior.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photos: Levi Johnston, top, arrives at the US Weekly Fall Hot Hollywood party at the Voyeur Club in West Hollywood on Nov. 18, 2009. Center right, Johnston and Bristol Palin appear at the Republican National Convention on Sept. 3, 2008, back when the grandma-to-be was a VP candidate and the two were supposed to get married. And below, Sarah Palin, with husband Todd, opens her terrifying jaws to attack an innocent woman at a book signing in Colorado on Dec. 3, 2009. Or maybe Palin is just being friendly, laughing and talking? Sorry, Levi, didn't mean to scare you. Credits, from top: Nina Prommer / EPA; Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press; Bryan Oller / Associated Press.

Palin Levi Johnston dispatches previously handled with latex gloves by the Ministry of Gossip:

Conan O'Brien apologizes to Levi Johnston, with Shatner's help

Levi Johnston wants a retraction after Shatner's NBC beat tweets

Levi's rep promises 'full johnson' (Did he mean 'full Johnston'?)

Looking for more gossip? Click on names in the category cloud on the right (you might have to scroll down a bit) to plunge into the Ministry's archives. Uncomfortable with the cloud concept? Then simply click here for dish on Sarah Palin.

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