Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Anna Nicole Smith's ex challenges paternity of child

A man who claims to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's newborn daughter has filed a lawsuit demanding the reality TV star and baby girl return to California for paternity testing, his lawyer said Tuesday.

The lawsuit on behalf of Larry Birkhead, a photographer who says he is Smith's former boyfriend, was filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, attorney Debra Opri told The Associated Press by telephone from southern California.

She said Smith was served with court papers Monday in the Bahamas, where the 38-year-old former Playboy playmate has been mourning the death of her adult son. Daniel Wayne Smith died September 10 while visiting his mother in the hospital where she had given birth three days earlier.

Howard K. Stern, an attorney for Smith, claims he is the father of the baby girl, Dannie Lynn Hope. He has said the couple plans to marry.

Birkhead filed the challenge because Smith has not responded to his attempts to communicate, Opri said. "The access had been cut off about the time of the birth of the child," she said.

The lawsuit also expresses concerns about the fitness of the baby's current household.

"There are concerns about the health and safety of the child," Opri said. "These are things that will come out in court."

Bahamas Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez, meanwhile, said it is unclear whether an inquest is necessary in the death of Daniel Smith. One had been tentatively scheduled. Gomez told the AP that official toxicology results were issued on Friday but that he had not seen them.

A U.S.-based pathologist who conducted a private autopsy said last week that Daniel Smith died from an accidental lethal combination of methadone and two antidepressant drugs.

Gomez said the Royal Bahamas Police Force is still investigating the death.


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