Fight over Smith’s body, baby drags on
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Lawyers for Anna Nicole Smith’s ex-boyfriend asked a judge Friday to step into the paternity case over the former Playboy Playmate’s baby, but the judge said he doubted he had that authority.
Smith’s boyfriend Howard K. Stern is listed on 5-month-old Dannielynn’s birth certificate as her father, but two other men claim to have fathered the girl.
Los Angeles photographer Larry Birkhead, Smith’s ex-boyfriend, wants the court here to enforce a California judge’s orders so he can get DNA samples from Smith’s body and the baby.
Frederic von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, also says he may be the father.
A private hearing in the Bahamas to determine guardianship of the girl is expected to resume Monday between Stern and Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, who also is seeking custody. The judge in that case has barred Stern from taking the girl out of the Bahamas until a custody ruling.
Broward County Circuit Judge Lawrence Korda seemed at a loss as to how the case had landed in Florida, where Smith died two weeks ago.
“I’m trying to figure out what jurisdiction there could possibly be here. … I’m not even sure California’s got jurisdiction,” Korda said.
“This child is in the Bahamas. The jurisdiction is in the Bahamas,” he said, but added that he would examine the issue and rule quickly.
Birkhead’s attorneys said they planned to go to the Bahamas on Monday to request custody of the girl.
“I’ll go anywhere I have to,” Birkhead said outside the courtroom.
The developments were the latest in the saga surrounding Smith’s death of still-undetermined causes. On Thursday, another judge let Richard Milstein, Dannielynn’s court-appointed attorney, decide where to bury Smith.
The lawyer’s decision to bury her alongside her son in the Bahamas didn’t please everyone, and her estranged mother planned to challenge it Friday.
In a bizarre, rambling statement, a sometimes blubbering Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin made it clear what he felt should be done.
“I want her buried with her son in the Bahamas,” he said through tears. “I want them to be together.”
The mother, Virgie Arthur, wanted Smith brought to her native Texas, and criticized the judge’s scene-stealing antics.
“Maybe he wants to be a movie star,” she told NBC’s “Today” show Friday.
Seidlin made a surprise decision in a dispute that became more urgent by the day when the medical examiner warned that Smith’s body was rapidly decomposing.
Stern had been hunched over a table with his hands folded as he listened to Seidlin’s ruling and wiped away tears afterward. Arthur covered her eyes.
Birkhead testified earlier that he attempted to curb the model’s drug use by urging her to seek treatment. When he visited the Bahamas home Smith and Stern shared last year, he said he became increasingly concerned about her medicine use.
“They kept bringing more and more drugs in the house,” Birkhead said, adding that Smith told him she needed the prescriptions to live.
Testimony in the case has been peppered with details of Smith’s sexual liaisons and the deals allegedly being pursued to profit from the deaths of her and her son.
Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. She had been fighting his family over his estimated $500 million fortune since his death in 1995.