Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Strange days

But can you really blame the lawyer?


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Says he was unsettled when she exchanged vows with boyfriend

Manuel Balce Ceneta / Ap File

ATLANTA - Anna Nicole Smith’s lead attorney in the Bahamas said Wednesday he has withdrawn as counsel for the reality TV star, citing disagreements on matters of strategy and concerns about her conduct.

Michael Scott said he was unsettled by Smith’s decision to exchange vows with her boyfriend even before she made funeral arrangements for Daniel Smith, her 20-year-old son who died Sept.10. People magazine bought photos of the ceremony, which was not a legal wedding and was held aboard a catamaran on Sept. 28 in waters off Nassau, Bahamas.

“A disagreement on a commercial transaction made it difficult for us to remain as counsel,” Scott told The Associated Press over the phone.

A Nassau funeral home has been holding Daniel Smith’s embalmed body while awaiting further instructions from the family. He died while visiting Smith in a Bahamas hospital where she had given birth to a daughter three days earlier.

Bahamian police investigating Smith’s death expect to submit their report as early as this week to authorities who will determine whether a jury inquest is necessary.

Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist who conducted a private autopsy, concluded that he died from a lethal combination of methadone and two antidepressants.
‘Not really an amicable parting’Scott, who was also the attorney for Daniel Smith’s estate, said he decided to withdraw effective Tuesday after consulting with his partners. He said he has notified Anna Nicole Smith in writing.
“It was not really an amicable parting,” said Scott, reached on his cell phone in Florida.

Scott cited disagreements with Smith’s boyfriend and longtime attorney Howard K. Stern, who says he is the father of Anna Nicole’s newborn daughter.
There were “strong differences of opinion between myself and Howard over strategies,” said Scott, who declined to elaborate, citing attorney-client privilege.

A birth certificate at a Nassau registry, a copy of which was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, lists Stern as the father of the baby girl, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern.

A lawsuit filed by Larry Birkhead, a former boyfriend of the former Playboy playmate, claims he is the girl’s father and demands that mother and daughter return to California for DNA paternity testing. A hearing in the case has been scheduled for Oct. 26 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Smith, who was born 38 years ago in Mexia, Texas, as Vickie Lynn Hogan, has been married twice.

In 1985 she wed Bill Smith, her co-worker at a Texas restaurant, and gave birth to Daniel before divorcing two years later. And in 1994, she married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, when she was 26 and he was 89. He died the following year. She has since been embroiled in a legal dispute over his multimillion-dollar estate.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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