Smith's Mother Seeks To Block Burial In Bahamas
Friday, February 23rd 2007, 6:38 am
News On 6
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ Anna Nicole Smith's estranged mother filed an emergency request Friday to block her burial in the Bahamas, hours after attorneys for the centerfold's ex-boyfriend asked a judge to step into the paternity case over Smith's baby.
Virgie Arthur filed the request with Judge Larry Seidlin, who a day earlier allowed the attorney for Smith's baby daughter to decide where the model could be buried. Arthur had sought to bury Smith in her native Texas.
Seidlin left his chambers minutes after a clerk released the request, but he would not answer any questions. His judicial assistant said the request was under review, but the assistant did not know when a ruling would be made.
Stephen Tunstall, an attorney for Arthur, has said he plans to appeal the judge's Thursday ruling, but he said Friday he did not know when the appeal would be filed.
Earlier Friday, another judge said he doubted he had jurisdiction in the dispute over who fathered Smith's daughter, 5-month-old Dannielynn.
Judge Lawrence Korda seemed skeptical about whether he could enter the paternity case, since Dannielynn was born and lives in the Bahamas with Smith's boyfriend, Howard K. Stern. Stern is listed on the girl'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.
Korda seemed at a loss as to how the paternity case had landed in Florida, where Smith died two weeks ago of undetermined causes. She was 39.
``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. The judge said he would examine the issue and rule quickly.
Stern's attorney, Krista Barth, expressed frustration Friday that Smith's mother waited until the end of the day to file her request. ``We could have done this right away. Now it's just delay, delay, delay,'' she said.
A private hearing in the Bahamas to determine guardianship of the girl is expected to resume Monday between Stern and Smith's mother, 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.
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.
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.