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Lawyer Fires First Shot in Battle Over Anna Nicole's Baby

The lawyer for the man claiming to have fathered Anna Nicole Smith's baby daughter vowed to file an emergency court order Friday to have the late ex-Playmate's DNA tested before her body is released to her family.

Lawyer Debra Opri told FOX News hours after Smith's death Thursday that she'd step up the paternity fight of her client, paparazzi photographer and onetime Smith boyfriend Larry Birkhead, who claims to be the father of 4-month-old Dannielynn Hope Marshall.

It's the latest twist in a list of bizarre legal battles that entangled the now-deceased, larger-than-life model from Texas.

Click here to view FindLaw's list of Smith's court cases.

"Now it's time to put up or shut up," Opri said. "This is despicable what's been happening, and it's got to end. Anna Nicole Smith is dead at the age of 39 because of a lifestyle. I do not want that child anywhere near [Smith's partner] Howard K. Stern, and that's all I'm going to say about it."

Smith's lawyer Ron Rale said Stern was too distraught to speak publicly about her death, but that a paternity hearing scheduled for Friday would go forward as scheduled in California.

The paternity fight began soon after Dannielynn was born last September at Doctors Hospital in Nassau in the Bahamas and the subsequent and sudden death three days later of Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel Smith.

Birkhead disputed claims by Stern, Smith's sometime lawyer, that he was the father of the baby.

Paternity test hearings dragged through the courts as Smith took up residence in the Bahamas and held a commitment ceremony with Stern.

Last month, a California judge temporarily blocked an order for a paternity test of Dannielynn, scheduling the hearing for Feb. 9.

"This is a tragedy; this woman didn't need to die," Opri said. "We tried, we absolutely tried to save her by filing our motions, but as you know, our system and law doesn't work fast enough."

At the time of her death Thursday at age 39, Smith was in the center of several legal tussles that included a more than decade-long quest to win the money left by her billionaire oil-mogul second husband J. Howard Marshall II. The case made legal headlines when it was heard last year before the Supreme Court.

The high court ruled that a bankruptcy court had no jurisdiction when it decided Smith's stepson had sabotaged the trust to keep the millions for himself. The ruling sent the case back to California.

The unanimous ruling on her behalf overturned a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision and revived her battle with stepson E. Pierce Marshall over the millions left to her when J. Howard Marshall II died in 1995 at the age of 90.

He left Smith, who was born Vickie Lynn Marshall, a "catch-all" trust that stood to net her somewhere in the neighborhood of $474 million. In life, Marshall had been kind enough to pay for breast-enhancement surgery for his young Texas bride, whom he met at a Houston strip club in 1991.

E. Pierce Marshall died in June 2006 at the age of 67.

Smith appeared in a San Francisco court in December for a mediation hearing on the Marshall estate.

But even a Supreme Court victory couldn't wipe away other legal woes. Last week, the TrimSpa spokeswoman was named in a class-action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, alleging that the product she endorses fails to deliver on its weight-loss promises.

A December 2005 lawsuit against TrimSpa alleged Smith's erratic behavior at the Live 8 charity concert in Philadelphia marred the festivities.

She also had a run-in with the law — an arrest for driving while intoxicated in Texas in 1989.