FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The melodramatic legal fallout from Anna Nicole Smith’s death shifted Friday from where to bury the former Playboy Playmate to who gets custody of her baby, who could inherit millions.
Attorneys for Larry Birkhead, the photographer who claims to have fathered 5-month-old Dannielynn, planned to ask a Florida family court judge to enforce a California court’s order that the infant’s DNA be tested to prove paternity.
Smith’s boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, and Frederic von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, also claim to be the father. Stern is listed as Dannielynn’s father on the birth certificate.
On Thursday, a sometimes blubbering judge gave Richard Milstein, the court-appointed lawyer for Dannielynn, the power to resolve a dispute between Stern and Virgie Arthur, Smith’s estranged mother, over where to bury Smith.
Milstein said she would be buried in the Bahamas next to her son, but gave no time frame.
In a bizarre, rambling statement from the bench, Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin choked up frequently but 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 ruling came a full two weeks after Smith died at a Florida hotel at age 39 of still-undetermined causes.
Arthur planned to appeal the decision and criticized the judge’s scene-stealing antics in the courtroom.
"Maybe he wants to be a movie star," she told NBC’s "Today" show Friday.
Milstein said earlier that testimony during the hearing made it clear Smith should be buried next to her son, as Stern wanted. Arthur wanted her buried in her native Texas.
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.
Outside court, Stern, Arthur and Birkhead pledged to work together on funeral arrangements.
"It’s a family affair," said Krista Barth, the attorney for Stern.
Birkhead testified that he had urged Smith to seek drug 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. When he suggested Smith enter drug rehabilitation, he said she told him: "I’m not a drug addict and quit calling me one."
Testimony in the case has been peppered with details of Smith’s sexual liaisons and deals allegedly being pursued to profit from the deaths of her and her son.
Also Thursday, celebrity news Web site TMZ.com posted a video of Smith hugging and being kissed by a shirtless doctor, who is under investigation by the California state medical board for conduct related to Smith. In the video from a nightclub, Stern and Birkhead watch as Smith and Dr. Sandeep Kapoor cuddle on a seat.
Messages left for Kapoor’s Los Angeles publicist Mark Saylor, on his cell phone and at his office, were not returned. A message also was left for Kapoor’s Los Angeles attorney, Ellyn Garofalo.
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.
Source for Post: Courttv.com