Lawyers Argue Over Smith's Inheritance

Wednesday, December 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A Texas oilman wanted his wife, former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith, to get a share of his wealth but his son tried to block the inheritance, her lawyer told a judge.

The court hearing Tuesday represented the latest round in Smith's long-running legal effort to claim the inheritance she says she was promised when the couple married in 1994. Smith was 26 and J. Howard Marshall II was 89 at the time.

``She's not taking the money and running,'' Smith's attorney Phil Boesch said during his opening statement. ``The fabricated gold digger ... doesn't exist.''

Lawyers for Pierce Marshall, 63, countered Tuesday that his father intentionally left Smith out of a living trust that oversaw his estate because he feared she was unable to handle money and would be easily fleeced.

Marshall is appealing a previous California bankruptcy court's decision to award Smith $474 million from the estate of his father.

The court awarded Smith the $474 million last December. After a Texas jury ruled in May that she had no claim to the estate, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter threw out the original California ruling in her favor, pending his own review.

Boesch said Smith, whose real name is Vickie Lynn Marshall, did not take advantage of the aging oilman and even refused his initial marriage proposals to pursue her career.

However, by doling out more than $6 million in jewelry, real estate and clothing to Smith before his death, Howard Marshall hoped she would become financially independent while he taught her sound financial practices, Pierce Marshall's lawyer said.

``Pierce Marshall is not the evil brother in the attic,'' the attorney, Rusty Hardin said. ``He's a guy who did his father's bidding all his life... J. Howard was in charge to the end.''