Howard K. Stern Files Slander Lawsuit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Howard K. Stern, the former
attorney and companion of Anna Nicole Smith, filed a slander
lawsuit Friday against an attorney for Smith's estranged mother who
has suggested Stern was involved in Smith's death.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach,
also accuses attorney John O'Quinn of invasion of privacy and seeks
unspecified damages.

A telephone message left by The Associated Press on Friday
afternoon for O'Quinn was not immediately returned. O'Quinn is
representing Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, in a custody battle
over Smith's baby.

Smith died in February at age 39 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel
and Casino. The medical examiner in the case ruled her death an
accidental drug overdose.

According to the lawsuit, O'Quinn appeared on several national
television shows in which he suggested Stern murdered Smith. During
an interview in Fort Lauderdale, O'Quinn told Fox News Show's Greta
Van Susteren that Arthur believed Stern had murdered her daughter
and that O'Quinn agreed with her. O'Quinn also suggested on MSNBC
that Stern had ulterior motives for wanting to see Smith's will
days before Smith died.

"The public airwaves should never be used to promote personal
agendas or vendettas," Stern's attorneys L. Lin Wood said in a
statement issued Friday.

The lawsuit came days after a DNA expert revealed Smith's former
boyfriend, Los Angeles photographer Larry Birkhead, was the father
of Smith's baby, not Stern. Stern has said he would not fight to
retain custody of 7-month-old Dannielynn. But Arthur is seeking
visitation rights.

Smith gave birth to Dannielynn in September in a Bahamas
hospital, days before her 20-year-old son, Daniel, died from a
lethal combination of drugs at her bedside.

Meanwhile, legal wrangling continues over the estate of Smith's
late husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, who died in
1995. It remains unclear how much, if any, of the $500 million
Marshall estate Dannielynn might inherit and whether her guardian
would have access to the money.