Palin's daughter loses fight for secret custody hearing

The daughter of former vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin has lost her bid to keep a bitter custody dispute over her year-old son confidential.

An Alaska judge denied Bristol Palin's request to keep the the hearing with Levi Johnston closed.

Ms Palin, 18, is seeking sole custody of her son, Tripp, and child support payments. She had argued that the attention the case could attract would turn it into a "media circus" that potentially could cause her son embarrassment as he grows older.

"In this day and age of the internet, media stories remain available for years, even decades, after they are first published, and anything printed in the media (whether it is true or not) will be available to Tripp when he is old enough to read," she said in an affidavit.

Levi Johnston, who is seeking joint custody, has pushed for open court proceedings, saying he "just wants a simple case on the merits."

"I do not feel protected against Sarah Palin in a closed proceeding," he said in an affidavit. "I hope that if it is open she will stay out of it. Bristol's attorney is her attorney."

Bristol Palin said that her mother, who resigned as Alaska governor in July, would not be involved in the case other than as "grandmother."

Her petition also seeks a visiting schedule for Mr Johnston, who she says has exercised "sporadic visitation rights."

Relations between the Palins and Mr Johnston and his family have frequently been strained since the couple broke off their engagement after their son was born in late December 2008.

Sarah Palin announced her daughter's pregnancy days after being named the running mate of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.